Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the South African Infant National Immunization Program for the Prevention of Pneumococcal Disease


Introduction: Pneumococcal disease, which presents a substantial health and economic burden, is prevented through pneumococcal vaccination programs. We assessed the impact of switching from a 13-valent-based (PCV13) to lower 10-valent-based (PCV10-GlaxoSmithKline [GSK] or PCV10-Serum Institute of India [SII]) or higher-valent (PCV15 or PCV20) vaccination programs in South Africa.

Methods: A previously published decision-analytic model was adapted to a South African setting. Historical invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) incidence data were used to project IPD incidence over time for each vaccination program on the basis of serotype coverage. Historical incidence (IPD, pneumonia, otitis media), mortality, costs, and utilities were obtained from the published literature. Cases of disease, direct medical costs (i.e., vaccination, IPD, pneumonia, and otitis media costs) (in 2022 South African rands), life-years, quality-adjusted life-years (QALY), and incremental cost per QALY were estimated over a 5- and 10-year horizon for PCV13 and the PCV10 vaccines. Additionally, a public health impact analysis was conducted comparing PCV13, PCV15, and PCV20.

Results: Continuing use of PCV13 would substantially reduce disease incidence over time compared with switching to either of the PCV10 lower-valent vaccines. Cases of IPD were reduced by 4.22% and 34.70% when PCV13 was compared to PCV10-GSK and PCV10-SII, respectively. PCV13 was also found to be cost saving over 5- and 10-year time horizons compared with PCV10-SII and to be cost-effective over a 5-year time horizon and cost-saving over a 10-year time horizon compared with PCV10-GSK. PCV20 was consistently estimated to prevent more cases than the PCV10 vaccines, PCV13, or PCV15.

Conclusions: Switching from a higher-valent to a lower-valent vaccine may lead to disease incidence re-emergence caused by previously covered serotypes. Maintaining PCV13 was estimated to improve public health further by averting additional pneumococcal disease cases and saving more lives and also to reduce total costs in most scenarios. Higher-valent PCVs can achieve the greatest public health impact in the pediatric vaccination program in South Africa.