Preferences for health outcomes associated with Group A Streptococcal disease and vaccination
BACKGROUND: A 26-valent Group A Streptococcus (GAS) vaccine candidate has been developed that may provide protection against pharyngitis, invasive disease and rheumatic fever. However, recommendations for the use of a new vaccine must be informed by a range of considerations, including parents' preferences for different relevant health outcomes. Our objectives were to: (1) describe parent preferences for GAS disease and vaccination using willingness-to-pay (WTP) and time trade-off (TTO) methods; and (2) understand how parents' implied WTP for a quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained might vary depending on the particular health outcome considered (e.g. averted GAS disease vs. vaccine adverse events). METHODS: Telephone interviews were conducted with parents of children diagnosed with GAS pharyngitis at 2 pediatric practice sites in the Boston metropolitan area. WTP and TTO (trading parental longevity for child's health) questions for 2 vaccine and 4 disease-associated health states were asked using a randomly selected opening bid, followed by a 2nd bid and a final open-ended question about the amount willing to pay or trade. Descriptive analyses included medians and interquartile ranges for WTP and TTO estimates. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to assess differences in WTP/QALY values for vaccine adverse events vs. disease states. RESULTS: Of 119 respondents, 100 (84%) and 96 (81%) provided a complete set of responses for WTP and TTO questions, respectively. The median WTP and discounted (at 3% per year) TTO values to avoid each health state were as follows: local reaction, $30, 0.12 days; systemic reaction, $50, 0.22 days; impetigo, $75, 1.25 days; strep throat, $75, 2.5 days; septic arthritis, $1,000, 6.6 days; and toxic shock syndrome, $3,000, 31.0 days. The median WTP/QALY was significantly higher for vaccine adverse events (approximately $60,000/QALY) compared to disease states ($18,000 to $36,000/QALY). CONCLUSIONS: Parents strongly prefer to prevent GAS disease in children compared to vaccine adverse events. However, implied WTP/QALY ratios were higher for the prevention of vaccine adverse events. Regret for errors of commission vs. omission may differ and should be considered by vaccine policymakers.