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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Medicine 1/2018

Cost-benefit analysis of vaccination: a comparative analysis of eight approaches for valuing changes to mortality and morbidity risks

BMC Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2018
Minah Park, Mark Jit, Joseph T. Wu
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12916-018-1130-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Mark Jit and Joseph T. Wu contributed equally to this work.



There is increasing interest in estimating the broader benefits of public health interventions beyond those captured in traditional cost-utility analyses. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in principle offers a way to capture such benefits, but a wide variety of methods have been used to monetise benefits in CBAs.


To understand the implications of different CBA approaches for capturing and monetising benefits and their potential impact on public health decision-making, we conducted a CBA of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in the United Kingdom using eight methods for monetising health and economic benefits, valuing productivity loss using either (1) the human capital or (2) the friction cost method, including the value of unpaid work in (3) human capital or (4) friction cost approaches, (5) adjusting for hard-to-fill vacancies in the labour market, (6) using the value of a statistical life, (7) monetising quality-adjusted life years and (8) including both productivity losses and monetised quality-adjusted life years. A previously described transmission dynamic model was used to project the impact of vaccination on cervical cancer outcomes. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis was conducted to capture uncertainty in epidemiologic and economic parameters.


Total benefits of vaccination varied by more than 20-fold (£0.6–12.4 billion) across the approaches. The threshold vaccine cost (maximum vaccine cost at which HPV vaccination has a benefit-to-cost ratio above one) ranged from £69 (95% CI £56–£84) to £1417 (£1291–£1541).


Applying different approaches to monetise benefits in CBA can lead to widely varying outcomes on public health interventions such as vaccination. Use of CBA to inform priority setting in public health will require greater convergence around appropriate methodology to achieve consistency and comparability across different studies.
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