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Eur J Public Health. 2008 Jun;18(3):275-82. Epub 2007 Dec 26.

Cost effectiveness of hepatitis B vaccination strategies in Ireland: an economic evaluation.

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National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's University Teaching Hospital, James's St, Dublin 8, Ireland.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Public Health. 2008 Dec;18(6):693.



In accordance with World Health Organization recommendations, many European countries have introduced universal hepatitis B vaccination policies. The UK and Ireland are exceptions. In this study, we conducted an economic evaluation of a universal infant hepatitis B vaccination programme, using a six-component vaccine, compared with the current selective strategy of vaccinating high-risk infants with a monovalent hepatitis B vaccine.


A cost effectiveness analysis was conducted using a Markov model. The perspective of the analysis was the Irish Health Service Executive. Unit cost and resource utilization data were derived from expert clinical opinion, published sources, diagnosis-related group costs for hospital admissions and local cost estimates for medical fees and laboratory investigations. A full probabilistic sensitivity analysis was undertaken. Both costs and outcomes were modelled over a period of 80 years and discounted at 3.5%.


Assuming an incidence of acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in Ireland of 8.4 per 100,000 population, the incremental cost effectiveness ratio ranged from euro10,992/life years gained (LYG) to euro67 200/LYG, at the lowest and highest price estimates for the six-component vaccine, respectively. The cost effectiveness of universal versus selective hepatitis B vaccination was sensitive to the risk of acute HBV infection, the cost of the universal infant vaccination programme and the discount rate.


At a cost of euro29.00 per dose of the six-component vaccine, universal infant hepatitis B vaccination is cost effective at euro37 018/LYG. This compares favourably with other preventive programmes in Ireland.

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