CDC Releases Data on Effectiveness of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

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In the United States, annual vaccination against seasonal influenza is recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months. Each season since 2004-05, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent influenza-associated, medically attended acute respiratory infection (ARI).

As reported in the Jan. 11, 2013 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, this season, early data from 1,155 children and adults with ARI enrolled during Dec. 3, 2012 to Jan. 2, 2013 were used to estimate the overall effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine for preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection associated with medically attended ARI. After adjustment for study site, but not for other factors, the estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) was 62 percent (95 percent confidence intervals [CIs] = 51 percent to 71 percent). This interim estimate indicates moderate effectiveness, and is similar to a summary VE estimate from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trial data; final estimates likely will differ slightly.

As of Jan. 11, 2013, 24 states and New York City were reporting high levels of influenza-like illness, 16 states were reporting moderate levels, five states were reporting low levels, and one state was reporting minimal levels. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices routinely recommend that annual influenza vaccination efforts continue as long as influenza viruses are circulating. Persons aged ≥6 months who have not yet been vaccinated this season should be vaccinated. However, these early VE estimates underscore that some vaccinated persons will become infected with influenza; therefore, antiviral medications should be used as recommended for treatment in patients, regardless of vaccination status. In addition, these results highlight the importance of continued efforts to develop more effective vaccines.

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