Transmission dynamics of the 2016-18 outbreak of hepatitis A among men who have sex with men in England and cost-effectiveness analysis of vaccination strategies to prevent future outbreaks

Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 19, August 2022
Zhang X.-S., Ong J.J., Macgregor L., Vilaplana T.G., Heathcock S.T., Mindlin M. et al.

Background: Despite being vaccine-preventable, hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreaks occur among men who have sex with men (MSM). We modelled the cost-effectiveness of vaccination strategies to prevent future outbreaks. Methods: A HAV transmission model was calibrated to HAV outbreak data for MSM in England over 2016-2018, producing estimates for the basic reproduction number (R0) and immunity levels (seroprevalence) post-outbreak. For a hypothetical outbreak in 2023 (same R0 and evolving immunity), the cost-effectiveness of pre-emptive (vaccination between outbreaks among MSM attending sexual health services (SHS)) and reactive (vaccination during outbreak among MSM attending SHS and primary care) vaccination strategies were modelled. Effectiveness in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and costs were estimated (2017 UK pounds) from a societal perspective (10-year time horizon; 3% discount rate). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was estimated. Findings: R0 for the 2016-2018 outbreak was 3·19 (95% credibility interval (95%CrI) 2·87-3·46); seroprevalence among MSM increased to 70·4% (95%CrI 67·3-72·8%) post-outbreak. For our hypothetical HAV outbreak in 2023, pre-emptively vaccinating MSM over the preceding five-years was cost-saving (compared to no vaccination) if the yearly vaccine coverage rate among MSM attending SHS was <9·1%. Reactive vaccination was also cost-saving compared to no vaccination, but was dominated by pre-emptive vaccination if the yearly vaccination rate was >8%. If the pre-emptive yearly vaccination rate fell below this threshold, it became cost-saving to add reactive vaccination to pre-emptive vaccination. Interpretation: Although highly transmissible, existing immunity limited the recent HAV outbreak among MSM in England. Pre-emptive vaccination between outbreaks, with reactive vaccination if indicated, is the best strategy for limiting future HAV outbreaks. Funding: NIHR.