The most common cause of severe diarrhoea in infants and young children is rotavirus gastroenteritis (RVGE), which is associated with significant morbidity, healthcare resource use and direct and indirect costs in industrialized nations. The monovalent rotavirus vaccine RIX4414 (Rotarix™) is administered as a two-dose oral series in infants and has demonstrated protective efficacy against RVGE in clinical trials conducted in developed countries. In addition, various naturalistic studies have demonstrated ‘real-world’ effectiveness after the introduction of widespread rotavirus vaccination programmes in the community setting.
Numerous cost-effectiveness analyses have been conducted in developed countries in which a universal rotavirus vaccination programme using RIX4414 was compared with no universal rotavirus vaccination programme. There was a high degree of variability in base-case results across studies even when conducted in the same country, often reflecting differences in the selection of data sources or assumptions used to populate the models. In addition, results were sensitive to plausible changes in a number of key input parameters. As such, it is not possible to definitively state whether a universal rotavirus vaccination programme with RIX4414 is cost effective in developed countries, although results of some analyses in some countries suggest this is the case. In addition, international guidelines advocate universal vaccination of infants and children against rotavirus. It is also difficult to draw conclusions regarding the cost effectiveness of rotavirus vaccine RIX4414 relative to that of the pentavalent rotavirus vaccine, which is administered as a three-dose oral series. Although indirect comparisons in cost-effectiveness analyses indicate that RIX4414 provided more favourable incremental cost-effectiveness ratios when each vaccine was compared with no universal rotavirus vaccination programme, results were generally sensitive to vaccine costs. Actual tender prices of a full vaccination course for each vaccine were not known at the time of the analyses and therefore had to be estimated.