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British Society for Immunology response to Government decision on cost effectiveness methodology for vaccination programmes

11 June 2019

The Government recently carried out a consultation on the recommendations of the Cost-Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement (CEMIPP) report, which examined the methodology used by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to appraise the cost-effectiveness of vaccination programmes, examining in particular whether this methodology should differ from those used for appraising other health-related activities that use public resources.

The report developed a number of recommendations including a package of three measures which, if adopted, would have changed the rules for how the cost-effectiveness of vaccines was calculated. This could have led to a more stringent cost-effectiveness bar for immunisation programmes. The Government announced their final decision today on the CEMIPP report, which was to reject these three key recommendations (on reducing the cost-effectiveness threshold to £15,000 per Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY), changing the health discount rate to 1.5%, and changing the time horizon of the analyses).  In response to this announcement, the BSI has released the following statement. 


Professor Arne Akbar, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“The UK should be proud of our record in leading the world in the provision of vaccines to our children to protect against disease.  Vaccinations save lives and are one of the safest and most cost-effective ways to prevent disease.

“Today’s announcement by the Government to reject the three key recommendations from the Cost-Effectiveness Methodology for Immunisation Programmes and Procurement (CEMIPP) Group’s report is welcomed by the British Society for Immunology. If these recommendations were  implemented as a package, it would have made it harder to get new vaccines onto the UK vaccination schedule.  We are delighted that government engaged with stakeholders in reaching this decision.  In a world where we are able to prevent many diseases via immunisation, the British Society for Immunology had been concerned that accepting the three key recommendations listed in the report would have had a detrimental impact on future public health in the UK. However, it’s important that we keep monitoring our performance on vaccine provision and we’re pleased to see that the other ‘best practice’ improvements recommended by the CEMIPP report will be implemented.

“The UK is a world leader in vaccine research and the British Society for Immunology is committed is to working with doctors, scientists and policy-makers to ensure that this excellence is reflected in the provision of vaccines to our children to prevent disease. Prevention is an area focused on in the recently published NHS long-term plan and vaccines obviously have a key role to play in this, with many new vaccines against different diseases in development.  When discount rate calculations are made of the costs and benefits of different medications over different time periods, it is only right to recognise vaccines’ ability to provide protection for our society against disease for many decades.”


The full Government response to the CEMIPP consultation can be found here.