Low effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccine in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza in primary care in the United Kingdom: 2014/15 mid–season results

Flu vaccine only has a 3 percent efficacy rate

In 2014/15 the United Kingdom experienced circulation of influenza A(H3N2) with impact in the elderly. Mid-season vaccine effectiveness (VE) shows an adjusted VE of 3.4% (95% CI: −44.8 to 35.5) against primary care consultation with laboratory-confirmed influenza and −2.3% (95% CI: −56.2 to 33.0) for A(H3N2). The low VE reflects mismatch between circulating viruses and the 2014/15 northern hemisphere A(H3N2) vaccine strain. Early use of antivirals for prophylaxis and treatment of vulnerable populations remains important.

We present the 2014/15 mid-season estimates of influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) for the United Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (UK). This season is dominated by early circulation of influenza A(H3N2) virus, and an overall VE in preventing medically attended laboratory-confirmed influenza in primary care of only 3.4% and against A(H3N2) of −2.3%. This report provides clear evidence of antigenic and genetic mismatch between circulating A(H3N2) viruses and the respective 2014/15 northern hemisphere vaccine strain.

The UK has a long-standing selective influenza immunisation programme targeted at individuals at higher risk of severe disease, in particular all those 65 years and above and under 65-year olds in a clinical risk group, using inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine…..
The current season has led to large numbers of care home outbreaks, often in highly vaccinated populations, hospitalisations and significant excess all-cause mortality in the over 65 year-old population.

Source: Eurosurveillance Edition  2015Volume 20Issue 5 Article 2

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