Cost-effectiveness and potential impact of rotavirus vaccination in the United States

Marc-Alain Widdowson, Martin I Meltzer, Xinzhi Zhang, Joseph S Bresee, Umesh D Parashar, Roger I Glass

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: In February 2006, a safe, efficacious, orally administered pentavalent human-bovine reassortant rotavirus vaccine was licensed and recommended for routine immunization of all children in the United States. We assessed the health and economic impacts of a national rotavirus immunization program in the United States.

METHODS: Monte Carlo cost-effectiveness analyses, from health care and societal perspectives, of vaccination of a hypothetical US birth cohort of 4,010,000 children monitored from birth to 59 months of age were performed. We compared the disease and economic burden of rotavirus infection in an unvaccinated cohort of children with one vaccinated at 2, 4, and 6 months with pentavalent human-bovine reassortant rotavirus vaccine.

RESULTS: A routine rotavirus immunization program would prevent 13 deaths, 44,000 hospitalizations, 137,000 emergency department visits, 256,000 office visits, and 1,100,000 episodes requiring only home care for children <5 years of age in the United States. Assuming costs of administration of $10, the break-even price per dose of vaccine was $42 from the societal perspective and $12 from the health care perspective. From the societal perspective, at the manufacturer's price of $62.50 per dose, vaccination would cost $138 per case averted, $3024 per serious case averted, and $197,190 per life-year saved, at a total cost of $515 million to the health care system and $216 million to society. Key variables influencing the results were parental workdays lost, costs of hospitalization, emergency department visits, and child care.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite a higher burden of serious rotavirus disease than estimated previously, routine rotavirus vaccination would unlikely be cost-saving in the United States at present. Nonetheless, rotavirus vaccination may still be considered a cost-effective intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)684-697
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Administration, Oral
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs/economics
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Reference Values
  • Rotavirus/immunology
  • Rotavirus Infections/epidemiology
  • Survival Rate
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Vaccination/economics
  • Viral Vaccines/administration & dosage


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