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Euro Surveill. 2018 Jun;23(25). doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.25.1700496.

Uptake and impact of vaccinating primary school-age children against influenza: experiences of a live attenuated influenza vaccine programme, England, 2015/16.

Author information

1
Public Health England (PHE), Colindale, London, United Kingdom.
2
University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom.
3
Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC), London, United Kingdom.
4
Public Health England (PHE), Bristol, United Kingdom.
5
Public Health England (PHE), Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The 2015/16 influenza season was the third season of the introduction of an intra-nasally administered live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for children in England. All children aged 2‒6 years were offered LAIV, and in addition, a series of geographically discrete areas piloted vaccinating school-age children 7‒11 years old. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was the dominant circulating strain during 2015/16 followed by influenza B. We measured influenza vaccine uptake and the overall and indirect effect of vaccinating children of primary school -age, by comparing cumulative disease incidence in targeted and non-targeted age groups in vaccine pilot and non-pilot areas in England. Uptake of 57.9% (range: 43.6-72.0) was achieved in the five pilot areas for children aged 5‒11 years. In pilot areas, cumulative emergency department respiratory attendances, influenza-confirmed hospitalisations and intensive care unit admissions were consistently lower, albeit mostly non-significantly, in targeted and non-targeted age groups compared with non-pilot areas. Effect sizes were less for adults and more severe endpoints. Vaccination of healthy primary school-age children with LAIV at moderately high levels continues to be associated with population-level reductions in influenza-related respiratory illness. Further work to evaluate the population-level impact of the programme is required.

KEYWORDS:

Live attenuated influenza vaccine; children; influenza; programme impact; vaccination

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