By Jon Hamilton
The group that advises the U.S. government on vaccination thinks some new vaccines may not be worth the cost.
In 2009, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, decided it’s not cost effective to routinely vaccinate boys for human papillomavirus, though they do recommend the vaccine for girls. Now the group is struggling to decide whether infants and toddlers should get costly new vaccines to prevent a form of meningitis caused by bacteria.
The new emphasis on cost comes as vaccines are arriving that run more than $100 a dose, while only preventing illness in a relatively small number of people.
“In the 1980s, cost effectiveness, indeed even the cost of vaccines, just wasn’t discussed,” says William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University and an ACIP liaison representative from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. “Now it plays a regular and quite prominent role.”