Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine in Kids Can Trim Caseload And Be Cost-Effective, Especially in a Bad Season, Study Finds

With flu vaccination season upon us, the question arises, shot or nasal spray? For children, a nasal spray might be an easier option, and a new study just published in The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits shows that if a moderate to harsh flu season is expected, it's a cost-effective choice, too.

Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine in Kids Can Trim Caseload And Be Cost-Effective, Especially in a Bad Season, Study Finds

PLAINSBORO, N.J. — The end of summer means it’s time for the annual flu vaccination. For most adults and children, that will mean a flu shot. But does it have to be? A new study published in the most recent issue of The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits evaluates the cost-effectiveness of using a nasal spray vaccine for children, who may balk at a shot.

Researchers led by Lee J. Smolen, BSEE, used a decision-tree model using data from two clinical trials involving an influenza nasal spray and a standard influenza shot in the 2002-2003 flu season. According to the authors, these trials provided a “unique opportunity” to compare data in children ages 2-17 in the same flu season.

The study found that in a vaccinated population of 10,000, the nasal spray resulted in fewer influenza case compared with a shot in all three models of a flu season: 214 fewer cases in a mild season, 428 in a moderate season, and 642 in a severe season. In the mild season, the nasal spray also resulted eliminated 30 severe flu cases in a population of 10,000, as well as 100 doctor’s visits, nine trips to the emergency room, and one hospitalization.

When calculating cost-effectiveness, researchers took multiple factors into account. They considered not only the number of influenza cases that could be expected based on which type of vaccine was used, but also factors such as the cost of different types of vaccines, the cost of trips to the emergency room or stays in the hospital, and also the value of a parent’s missed work day to care for a sick child (up to 12 years old). Researchers found that cost-effectiveness went up as severity of the flu season increased.

The study was sponsored by MedImmune, LLC.

About the Journals

The American Journal of Managed Care, now in its 20th year of publication, is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to issues in managed care. Other titles in the AJMC family of publications are The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits, which provides pharmacy and formulary decision makers with information to improve the efficiency and health outcomes in managing pharmaceutical care. In December 2013, AJMC introduced The American Journal of Accountable Care, which publishes research and commentary devoted to understanding changes to the healthcare system due to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. AJMC’s news publications, the Evidence-Based series, bring together stakeholder views from payers, providers, policymakers and pharmaceutical leaders in the areas of oncology, diabetes management, and immunology and infectious disease. To order reprints of articles appearing in AJMC publications, please call (609) 716-7777, x 131.

CONTACT: Mary Caffrey (609) 716-7777 x 144