The European Journal of Health Economics

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 177–187 | Cite as

A cost-benefit analysis of the immunisation of children against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using the English Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data set

  • Gareth Thomas
Original Paper


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common cause of respiratory infection that is highly prevalent in infants, particularly those with underlying medical conditions. Severe cases of RSV require hospitalisation as well as admission to intensive care and may even result in death. The objective of the study was to measure the net benefits that could arise from an immunisation programme of infants that may well eradicate RSV to a high degree and save the direct and indirect medical care costs from hospitalisation, morbidity and the gain from potential life-time earnings by reducing the probability of mortality. In this context, the majority of existing empirical investigations are based on data from clinical trials, and where relevant facts are not available, a series of strong assumptions is derived from the published literature, whereas in this study, for the first time, the hospital episode statistics database is used to calculate the cost-benefit ratios. The methodology of the analysis adopts a cost-benefit approach to assess the impact of the immunisation and whether it is beneficial to society. The underlying assumptions of the basic model are assessed by adopting a sensitivity analysis. The results show that a number of categories are cost-effective with the use of the passive drug, which means benefits by raising the life expectancy and quality as well as reducing the resource burden on society.


Cost-benefit ratio HES Immunisation RSV 

JEL Classification




We wish to acknowledge the grant of £10,000 from the University of Hertfordshire to carry out the study and purchase the HES data set. Also, the writers would like to thank the reviewers for their constructive comments on the content of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hertfordshire Business SchoolUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUK

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