End of season influenza vaccine effectiveness in adults and children in the United Kingdom in 2017/18

Richard Pebody, Abdelmajid Djennad, Joanna Ellis, Nick Andrews, Diogo F P Marques, Simon Cottrell, Arlene J Reynolds, Rory Gunson, Monica Galiano, Katja Hoschler, Angie Lackenby, Chris Robertson, Mark O'Doherty, Mary Sinnathamby, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, Ivelina Yonova, Rebecca Webb, Catherine Moore, Matthew Donati, Muhammad SartajSamantha J Shepherd, Jim McMenamin, Simon de Lusignan, Maria Zambon

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Background: In the United Kingdom (UK), in recent influenza seasons, children are offered a quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4), and eligible adults mainly trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV). Aim: To estimate the UK end-of-season 2017/18 adjusted vaccine effectiveness (aVE) and the seroprevalence in England of antibodies against influenza viruses cultured in eggs or tissue. Methods: This observational study employed the test-negative case–control approach to estimate aVE in primary care. The population-based seroprevalence survey used residual age-stratified samples. Results: Influenza viruses A(H3N2) (particularly subgroup 3C.2a2) and B (mainly B/Yamagata/16/88-lineage, similar to the quadrivalent vaccine B-virus component but mismatched to TIV) dominated. All-age aVE was 15% (95% confidence interval (CI): −6.3 to 32) against all influenza; −16.4% (95% CI: −59.3 to 14.9) against A(H3N2); 24.7% (95% CI: 1.1 to 42.7) against B and 66.3% (95% CI: 33.4 to 82.9) against A(H1N1)pdm09. For 2–17 year olds, LAIV4 aVE was 26.9% (95% CI: −32.6 to 59.7) against all influenza; −75.5% (95% CI: −289.6 to 21) against A(H3N2); 60.8% (95% CI: 8.2 to 83.3) against B and 90.3% (95% CI: 16.4 to 98.9) against A(H1N1)pdm09. For ≥ 18 year olds, TIV aVE against influenza B was 1.9% (95% CI: −63.6 to 41.2). The 2017 seroprevalence of antibody recognising tissue-grown A(H3N2) virus was significantly lower than that recognising egg-grown virus in all groups except 15–24 year olds. Conclusions: Overall aVE was low driven by no effectiveness against A(H3N2) possibly related to vaccine virus egg-adaption and a new A(H3N2) subgroup emergence. The TIV was not effective against influenza B. LAIV4 against influenza B and A(H1N1)pdm09 was effective.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800488
Number of pages17
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • influenza vaccine
  • vaccine effectiveness
  • United Kingdom


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