Cost-effectiveness analysis of vaccines for COVID-19 according to sex, comorbidity and socioeconomics status: a population study
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Background and Objective Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are extremely effective in preventing severe disease, but their real-world cost-effectiveness is still an open question. We present an analysis of the cost-effectiveness and economic impact of the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in the Basque Country, Spain. Methods To calculate costs and quality-adjusted life years for the entire population of the Basque Country, dynamic modelling and a real-world data analysis were combined. Data on COVID-19 infection outcomes (cases, hospitalisations, intensive care unit admissions and deaths) and population characteristics (age, sex, socioeconomic status and comorbidity) during the initial phase of the vaccination rollout, from January to June of 2021, were retrieved from the Basque Health Service database. The outcomes in the alternative scenario (without vaccination) were estimated with the dynamic model used to guide public health authority policies, from February to December 2020. Individual comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy and costs were estimated. Results By averting severe disease-related outcomes, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in monetary savings of €26.44 million for the first semester of 2021. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was €707/quality-adjusted life year considering official vaccine prices and dominant real prices. While the analysis by comorbidity showed that vaccines were considerably more cost effective in individuals with pre-existing health conditions, this benefit was lower in the low socioeconomic status group. Conclusions The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of the vaccination programme justified the policy of prioritising high-comorbidity patients. The initial phase of COVID-19 vaccination was dominant from the perspective of the healthcare payer.