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Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Dec 1;59(11):1519-24. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciu664. Epub 2014 Aug 19.

Impact of influenza B lineage-level mismatch between trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines and circulating viruses, 1999-2012.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital.
National Influenza Center, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.



Influenza B virus strains in trivalent influenza vaccines are frequently mismatched to the circulating B strains, but the population-level impact of such mismatches is unknown. We assessed the impact of vaccine mismatch on the epidemiology of influenza B during 12 recent seasonal outbreaks of influenza in Finland.


We analyzed all available nationwide data on virologically confirmed influenza infections in all age groups in Finland between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2012, with the exclusion of the pandemic season of 2009-2010. We derived data on influenza infections and the circulation of different lineages of B viruses during each season from the Infectious Diseases Register and the National Influenza Center, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland.


A total of 34 788 cases of influenza were recorded. Influenza A accounted for 74.0% and influenza B for 26.0% of all typed viruses. Throughout the 12 seasons, we estimated that 41.7% (3750 of 8993) of all influenza B infections were caused by viruses representing the other genetic lineage than the one in the vaccine. Altogether, opposite-lineage influenza B viruses accounted for 10.8% of all influenza infections in the population, the proportion being highest (16.8%) in children aged 10-14 years and lowest (2.6%) in persons aged ≥70 years.


The population-level impact of lineage-level mismatch between the vaccine and circulating strains of influenza B viruses is substantial, especially among children and adolescents. The results provide strong support for the inclusion of both influenza B lineages in seasonal influenza vaccines.


influenza B virus; quadrivalent influenza vaccines; trivalent influenza vaccines; vaccine mismatch

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