Maternal influenza vaccine strategies in Kenya: Which approach would have the greatest impact on disease burden in pregnant women and young infants?


Recent influenza surveillance data from Africa suggest an important burden of influenza-associated morbidity and mortality. In tropical countries where influenza virus transmission may not be confined to a single season alternative strategies for vaccine distribution via antenatal care (ANC) or semiannual campaigns should be considered.

Vaccinating pregnant women against influenza can reduce the burden of influenza-associated illness, hospitalization and death in both pregnant women and their young infants. Alternative immunization strategies may avert more influenza-associated disease in countries where influenza virus transmission occurs throughout the year.

During 2010-2014, influenza resulted in an estimated 279,047 illnesses, 36,276 medical visits, 1612 hospitalizations and 243 deaths in pregnant women and 157,053 illnesses, 65,177 medical visits, 4197 hospitalizations, and 755 deaths in infants aged 0-5 months in Kenya. Depending on the mode of distribution and the vaccine coverage achieved, 12.8-31.4% of influenza-associated disease in pregnant women and 11.6-22.1% in infants aged 0-5 months might have been prevented through maternal influenza immunization. In this model, point estimates for influenza-associated disease averted through maternal vaccination delivered year-round in ANC or semiannually in campaigns were higher than vaccination delivered in a single annual campaign, but confidence intervals overlapped.

Using data on monthly influenza disease burden in women of child-bearing age and infants aged 0-5 months in Kenya from 2010-2014, we estimated the number of outcomes (illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths) that occurred and that may have been averted through influenza vaccination of pregnant women using: 1) a year-round immunization strategy through ANC, 2) annual vaccination campaigns, and 3) semiannual vaccination campaigns.

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