Houweling H et al. – February 2010 – Vaccine 2010; DOI 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.02.021. Published ahead of print.
Criteria for inclusion of vaccinations in public programmes
Description: This paper describes the experience in the Netherlands in developing a framework for assessing whether a vaccination should be included in the National Immunisation Programme (NIP). Bearing in mind the public nature, the factors that determine a vaccine’s suitability for inclusion in a communal vaccination programme have been translated into seven selection criteria, grouped under five thematic headings: seriousness and extent of the disease burden, effectiveness and safety of the vaccination, acceptability of the vaccination, efficiency of the vaccination, and priority of the vaccination. The seven criteria and the explanation of them provide a framework for the systematic examination of arguments for and against the inclusion and prioritisation of particular vaccinations. As an illustration, the vaccinations currently provided in the Netherlands through public programmes as well as 23 ‘candidate’ vaccinations are assessed against the seven criteria. The proposed assessment framework including the selection criteria can take full account of the values and specificities as they may differ between situations and countries; the transparency of the approach may help to clarify which elements of the assessment are pivotal in specific situations.
ECDC comment: Several new vaccines for children and young adults have been introduced recently or are currently discussed in different European countries and worldwide. As new vaccines are licensed, countries face complex decisions regarding which vaccines to introduce in their routine immunisation schedules and which to fund. The development of common criteria which could help ensure an informed and transparent decision-making process and the exchange of different experiences – good and bad – should be encouraged. The presented article summarises the Netherland’s experience and provides a good start for discussion.