Pooled influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates for Australia, 2012-2014
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Data were pooled from three Australian sentinel general practice influenza surveillance networks to estimate Australia-wide influenza vaccine coverage and effectiveness against community presentations for laboratory-confirmed influenza for the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons. Patients presenting with influenza-like illness at participating GP practices were swabbed and tested for influenza. The vaccination odds of patients testing positive were compared with patients testing negative to estimate influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) by logistic regression, adjusting for age group, week of presentation and network. Pooling of data across Australia increased the sample size for estimation from a minimum of 684 to 3,683 in 2012, from 314 to 2,042 in 2013 and from 497 to 3,074 in 2014. Overall VE was 38% [95% confidence interval (CI) 24-49] in 2012, 60% (95% CI 45-70) in 2013 and 44% (95% CI 31-55) in 2014. For A(H1N1)pdm09 VE was 54% (95% CI-28 to 83) in 2012, 59% (95% CI 33-74) in 2013 and 55% (95% CI 39-67) in 2014. For A(H3N2), VE was 30% (95% CI 14-44) in 2012, 67% (95% CI 39-82) in 2013 and 26% (95% CI 1-45) in 2014. For influenza B, VE was stable across years at 56% (95% CI 37-70) in 2012, 57% (95% CI 30-73) in 2013 and 54% (95% CI 21-73) in 2014. Overall VE against influenza was low in 2012 and 2014 when A(H3N2) was the dominant strain and the vaccine was poorly matched. In contrast, overall VE was higher in 2013 when A(H1N1)pdm09 dominated and the vaccine was a better match. Pooling data can increase the sample available and enable more precise subtype- and age group-specific estimates, but limitations remain.
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