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Indirect protection from vaccinating children against influenza in households.

Abstract

Vaccination is an important intervention to prevent influenza virus infection, but indirect protection of household members of vaccinees is not fully known. Here, we analyze a cluster household randomized controlled trial, with one child in each household randomized to receive influenza vaccine or placebo, for an influenza B epidemic in Hong Kong. We apply statistical models to estimate household transmission dynamics and quantify the direct and indirect protection of vaccination. Direct vaccine efficacy was 71%. The infection probability of unvaccinated household members in vaccinated households was only 5% lower than in control households, because only 10% of infections are attributed to household transmission. Even when that proportion rises to 30% and all children are vaccinated, we predict that the infection probability for unvaccinated household members would only be reduced by 20%. This suggests that benefits of individual vaccination remain important even when other household members are vaccinated.

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