Model Comparisons of the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Vaccination: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Value Health. 2018 Oct;21(10):1250-1258. doi: 10.1016/j.jval.2018.03.014. Epub 2018 May 24.


Objectives: To describe all published articles that have conducted comparisons of model-based effectiveness and cost-effectiveness results in the field of vaccination. Specific objectives were to 1) describe the methodologies used and 2) identify the strengths and limitations of the studies.

Methods: We systematically searched MEDLINE and Embase databases for studies that compared predictions of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of vaccination of two or more mathematical models. We categorized studies into two groups on the basis of their data source for comparison (previously published results or new simulation results) and performed a qualitative synthesis of study conclusions.

Results: We identified 115 eligible articles (only 5% generated new simulations from the reviewed models) examining the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of vaccination against 14 pathogens (69% of studies examined human papillomavirus, influenza, and/or pneumococcal vaccines). The goal of most of studies was to summarize evidence for vaccination policy decisions, and cost-effectiveness was the most frequent outcome examined. Only 33%, 25%, and 3% of studies followed a systematic approach to identify eligible studies, assessed the quality of studies, and performed a quantitative synthesis of results, respectively. A greater proportion of model comparisons using published studies followed a systematic approach to identify eligible studies and to assess their quality, whereas more studies using new simulations performed quantitative synthesis of results and identified drivers of model conclusions. Most comparative modeling studies concluded that vaccination was cost-effective.

Conclusions: Given the variability in methods used to conduct/report comparative modeling studies, guidelines are required to enhance their quality and transparency and to provide better tools for decision making.

Keywords: comparative modeling studies; effectiveness and cost-effectiveness; infectious diseases; systematic review of the literature; vaccination.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods*
  • Databases, Factual / economics
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Vaccination / economics*