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Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines
Date:4/17/2014

her. The new study explores whether other factors may be influencing this market response.

The researchers found two complicating factors in HepB and Hib immunizations that can affect health care providers' decisions when comparing combination vaccines. Infants in the United States are given a dose of HepB vaccine at birth, so only two more doses are required. Therefore, children who receive three doses of Pediarix get "extra-immunized" against HepB. However, if the Merck Hib vaccine is used, one less dose is required, so children who receive Pentacel may be extra-immunized against Hib.

"Our analysis suggests that the relative uptake of the two combination vaccines Pediarix and Pentacel can be explained by health care providers either recognizing the birth dose of Hepatitis B (and hence, choosing to administer Pediarix) or ignoring the Merck Effect for Haemophilus Influenza Type B (and hence, choosing to administer Pentacel)," Behzad said.

When the costs of extra immunizations are added to the costs of the combination vaccines, Pediarix ultimately is the lower cost. The prevalence of Pentacel, however, implies that pediatricians recognize the value of the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine, but that they do not take into account the cost savings of administering fewer doses of the Merck Hib vaccine.

The researchers encourage physicians and advisory boards to take all factors into account when determining how to administer the best combination of vaccines for the lowest cost.

"Vaccines do not exist in an immunization vacuum," Jacobson said. "The decision to use one particular vaccine may have implications on the choice of other vaccines, even when the diseases that they cover are distinct or only partially overlapping."

The National Science Foundation supported this work, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health.


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Contact: Liz Ahlberg
eahlberg@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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