Influence of Birth Cohort on Effectiveness of 2015-2016 Influenza Vaccine Against Medically Attended Illness Due to 2009 Pandemic Influenza A(H1N1) Virus in the United States.


The effectiveness of influenza vaccine during 2015-2016 was reduced in some age groups as compared to that in previous 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus (A[H1N1]pdm09 virus)-predominant seasons. We hypothesized that the age at first exposure to specific influenza A(H1N1) viruses could influence vaccine effectiveness (VE).

A total of 2115 A(H1N1)pdm09 virus-positive and 14 696 influenza virus-negative patients aged ≥6 months were included. VE was 61% (95% confidence interval [CI], 56%-66%) against A(H1N1)pdm09-associated illness during the 2010-2011 through 2013-2014 seasons, compared with 47% (95% CI, 36%-56%) during 2015-2016. During 2015-2016, A(H1N1)pdm09-specific VE was 22% (95% CI, -7%-43%) among adults born during 1958-1979 versus 61% (95% CI, 54%-66%) for all other birth cohorts combined.

Findings suggest an association between reduced VE against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-related illness during 2015-2016 and early exposure to specific influenza A(H1N1) viruses.

We estimated the effectiveness of influenza vaccine against polymerase chain reaction-confirmed influenza A(H1N1)pdm09-associated medically attended illness from the 2010-2011 season through the 2015-2016 season, according to patient birth cohort using data from the Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network. Birth cohorts were defined a priori on the basis of likely immunologic priming with groups of influenza A(H1N1) viruses that circulated during 1918-2015. VE was calculated as 100 × [1 - adjusted odds ratio] from logistic regression models comparing the odds of vaccination among influenza virus-positive versus influenza test-negative patients.

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