Is It Time to Introduce Pneumococcal Vaccine to the National Immunization Programme in Malaysia?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Globally, Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) has already been established as one of the leading causes of death among children under five years old. Since S. pneumoniae is a vaccine preventable disease, many countries have begun to address this issue by providing the pneumococcal vaccination as part of their vaccination program. Malaysia, however, is not one of those countries due to the lack of data on pneumococcal disease in the country. This has been cited as the main reason for not including the pneumococcal vaccine in the National Immunization Programme (NIP).

Researchers from the United Nations University-International Institute in Malaysia assessed the cost-effectiveness of introducing the Pneumococcal conjugated vaccine (PHiD-CV) into the National Immunization Programme of Malaysia. This study was conducted at UKM Medical Centre (UKMMC) in Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) in Kuala Lumpur, Hospital Alor Setar in Kedah and Hospital Queen Elizabeth in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The researchers compared the cost of the introduction of PHiD-CV (10 valent vaccine) with the current cost of no vaccination, and against the alternative 13 valent vaccine (PCV13). The researchers found that vaccination with PHiD-CV would be highly cost-effective against no vaccination at RM 30,290 (US$7,407) per QALY gained. Comparing PHiD-CV to PCV13, PHiD-CV dominated PCV13 with 179 QALYs gained while saving RM 35 million (US$10.87 million) in Malaysia.

“The outcome of this study provides strong evidence on the burden of pneumococcal disease and the cost-effectiveness of a vaccination programme against this disease. It provides enough justification for the Ministry of Health in Malaysia to take immediate action to introduce vaccination against pneumococcal diseases in the NIP.” says Dr. Syed Aljunid, MD, MsC, PhD, a senior research fellow at United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health and a Professor in Health Economics and Head of International Centre for Casemix and Clinical Coding at National University of Malaysia.

Value in Health Regional Issues (ISSN 2212-1099) is a scientific journal that encourages and enhances the science of pharmacoeconomic/health economic and health outcomes research and its use in health care decisions. The journal is published up to three times a year with one issue focusing on the Asia region, one issue focusing on the Latin America region, and one issue focusing on the Central & Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Africa regions.

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