Open Access Research article

Comparative review of three cost-effectiveness models for rotavirus vaccines in national immunization programs; a generic approach applied to various regions in the world

Maarten J Postma1, Mark Jit2, Mark H Rozenbaum1, Baudouin Standaert3, Hong-Anh Tu1 and Raymond CW Hutubessy4*

Author affiliations

1 Unit of PharmacoEpidemiology & PharmacoEconomics (PE2), Department of Pharmacy, University of Groningen, Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV, Groningen, the Netherlands

2 Modelling and Economics Unit, Health Protection Agency (HPA), 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ, UK

3 Health Economics Department, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals (GSKBio), Rue de l'Institut 89 1330 Rixensart, Wavre, Belgium

4 Initiative for Vaccine Research, World Health Organisation (WHO), Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2011, 9:84  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-84

Published: 8 July 2011



This study aims to critically review available cost-effectiveness models for rotavirus vaccination, compare their designs using a standardized approach and compare similarities and differences in cost-effectiveness outcomes using a uniform set of input parameters.


We identified various models used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of rotavirus vaccination. From these, results using a standardized dataset for four regions in the world could be obtained for three specific applications.


Despite differences in the approaches and individual constituting elements including costs, QALYs Quality Adjusted Life Years and deaths, cost-effectiveness results of the models were quite similar. Differences between the models on the individual components of cost-effectiveness could be related to some specific features of the respective models. Sensitivity analysis revealed that cost-effectiveness of rotavirus vaccination is highly sensitive to vaccine prices, rotavirus-associated mortality and discount rates, in particular that for QALYs.


The comparative approach followed here is helpful in understanding the various models selected and will thus benefit (low-income) countries in designing their own cost-effectiveness analyses using new or adapted existing models. Potential users of the models in low and middle income countries need to consider results from existing studies and reviews. There will be a need for contextualization including the use of country specific data inputs. However, given that the underlying biological and epidemiological mechanisms do not change between countries, users are likely to be able to adapt existing model designs rather than developing completely new approaches. Also, the communication established between the individual researchers involved in the three models is helpful in the further development of these individual models. Therefore, we recommend that this kind of comparative study be extended to other areas of vaccination and even other infectious disease interventions.