Einfluss einer generellen Impfung von Kleinkindern gegen Varizellen auf die Budgets der gesetzlichen Krankenkassen in Deutschland

  • Introduction Universal varicella vaccination of infants in Germany was shown to be effective and cost-saving by the EVITA-model (Economic Varicella VaccInation Tool for Analysis).[1] However, affordability proves to be a “fourth hurdle”. The objective of this study is to examine budget impacts of universal varicella vaccination from a payer’s (sickness funds’) perspective. Methods The validated, dynamic infections disease model EVITA was used to analyse budget impacts over 30 years. Universal vaccination of children in their second life year was compared to the currently recommended risk-group strategy. In the USA, universal varicella vaccination was implemented in 1996. Based on US-experience, three scenarios for the development of the coverage rates have been estimated. The price level of 2002 was used. Future costs were not discounted to show the full budget impact in future years. Aspects concerning the incidence of herpes zoster have not been included in the analysis. Results Under the current risk-group strategy, an annual average of 721,400 cases, 38,700 complications and 5,500 hospitalisations occur in Germany. Annual varicella costs for sickness funds amount to 73 million €, 50 % thereof due to sick-leave costs of parents staying at home to care for their sick child covered by sickness funds. Other costs relate to hospitalisations (24 %), physician services (12 %), medication (11 %) and vaccination (3 %). With a universal vaccination strategy, morbidity is on average reduced by 75 % to 80 % (this and the following results depend on the analysed scenario). Vaccination costs rise to a maximum of 42–43 million € p. a. within about 10–12 years and therefore account — at maximum — for about 0.03 % of the total payers’ health care budget. Other varicella costs however decrease by more than 80 % in the same time. Overall varicella costs rise by 8 % to 13 % in the first few years because of the additional investment in vaccination. In the 6th to 8th year, however, savings in treatment and work loss costs compensate vaccination costs, leading to net savings. Over 30 years, average annual varicella costs decrease by 31 % to 33 % to a level between 49 and 51 million €. Sensitivity analyses showed only marginal variations in these results with maximum coverage rate, price of vaccine, and work loss costs being the most influential variables. Conclusions Under the current risk-group vaccination strategy, varicella causes a high burden of disease resulting in considerable utilisation of health care resources and related costs. Universal vaccination can effectively reduce morbidity and utilisation. This strategy has a small impact on overall health care costs. For a short time, investment in varicella vaccination causes additional costs, which are low compared to current annual varicella costs, and does not influence sickness funds’ premiums. Reduced morbidity rapidly leads to savings and significant net-savings occur in 6–8 years.

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Author:Thomas Hammerschmidt
Parent Title (German):Pharmaco Economics German Research Articles
Document Type:Contribution to a Periodical
Publication Year:2004
Tag:GKV; Impfung; Varizellen
faculties / departments:Fakultät für Angewandte Gesundheits- und Sozialwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit