Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Vaccine proves cost effective: but coverage needs improving

Anti-cancer vaccine proves cost effective: but coverage needs improving

The New Zealand Government’s investment in HPV vaccination for girls is a “good value-for-money” way to protect health, a just-published study by the University of Otago Wellington (UOW) shows.

Despite a modest 47% coverage rate (at the time of analysis) and targeting young women only, there are health benefits to both men and women from herd immunity, says Professor Tony Blakely from UOW’s Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost effectiveness (BODE3) Programme.

The vaccination programme was introduced in 2008 and has been routinely offered through schools in year 8 or through primary care (aged 12 to 20 years) since 2011. Since then, sentinel surveillance clinics around the country (sexual health, family planning and student and youth health clinics) have reported a declining number of first presentations for genital warts, with the steepest reductions occurring in young women aged 15-19.

Pharmaceutical data for genital warts treatment also indicates a favourable downward trend.

Meanwhile, the BODE3 team has developed a model that shows the vaccination programme has a cost-effectiveness of $18,800 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained. The rule-of-thumb is that gaining a QALY for less than a country’s GDP per capita ($45,000 for New Zealand) is cost-effective, Professor Blakely says.

“Furthermore, the current vaccination programme generates more QALYs per 12-year-old for Maori and people living in deprived areas, so is helping to reduce health inequalities,” he says.

The researchers also modelled the cost-effectiveness of moving from the status quo to a more intensive school-based only programme of vaccinating girls – at 73% coverage as it is in Australia. This shift in coverage achieved more health gain and was also still cost-effective at $34,700 per QALY.

Coverage in New Zealand is currently nudging up to about 56% (higher for Māori and pacific), but there is scope for New Zealand to further increase its coverage to the higher rates seen in Australia and in the UK where coverage is 73% and 84%, respectively, Professor Blakely says.

Part of the problem keeping rates lower in New Zealand might be that parents are given too many options for getting free HPV vaccination, he says.

“Having the option to either have the vaccination at school or to delay a few years and get it from a GP is likely causing a lot of parents to delay. One possible way to achieve higher coverage might therefore be to have only a free school-based programme, as in Australia, with the requirement to pay the full market price in other settings.”

An additional approach is to enrich the information to school girls and parents about the vaccination.

“Our view is that greater emphasis could be given to explain that it will protect against multiple other cancers that affect both men and women, and that it is best given well before the typical age of sexual debut to maximise its benefit.”

Options could also be explored for boosting the cost-effectiveness of the vaccination even further, for example through delivery to girls at the same time that the current diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis boost is given to 11-year-olds at school, Professor Blakely says.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news