Research Article

Should homosexuals be vaccinated against hepatitis B virus? Cost and benefit assessment.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 286 doi: (Published 21 May 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;286:1621
  1. M W Adler,
  2. E M Belsey,
  3. J A McCutchan,
  4. A Mindel


    The recent introduction of a vaccine against hepatitis B has raised the questions of who should be offered it and what the cost would be of a vaccination programme. An analysis was performed of the financial costs and benefits of such a programme designed to prevent acute hepatitis B in male homosexuals in the United Kingdom. Under various assumptions the total costs of screening and vaccination ranged from 2.2m pounds to 3m pounds for a five year programme and from 3.3m pounds to 4.8m pounds for a 10 year programme. The benefits over the same two periods for the programme, depending on two different assumptions of mortality prevented, ranged 3.9m pounds to 13.7m pounds and from 7m pounds to 24.4m pounds. Thus considerable savings may be made to the national economy by offering vaccination to homosexuals. These savings are obtained after consideration of only the acute aspects of hepatitis B. Had it been possible to determine the costs of the chronic sequelae of this disease the savings, compared with the costs, would have been greatly increased.