Flu Vaccines Equally Effective in Military Population

SAN DIEGO — Trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) were similarly effective in preventing influenza, influenza-like illness and pneumonia in active duty U.S. servicemembers, according to a new study.1

For the report appearing in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, CA, reviewed records for military personnel who had received flu vaccines during three consecutive flu seasons, 2006-2009.

Of the 41,670 vaccinations included in the study, 28,929 were during two “well-matched” seasons — 2006-2007 and 2008-2009 — with 22,734 servicemembers receiving LAIV and 6,195 receiving TIV. The remaining 12,741 vaccinations were during the 2007-2008 season, when mild antigenic drift caused a suboptimal match, and 9,447 servicemembers received LAIV, while 3,294 received TIV.

Crude influenza-like illness incidence rates for LAIV and TIV were 139 and 127 cases per 1000 person-seasons for the well-matched seasons, respectively, and 150 and 165 cases per 1000 person-seasons for the suboptimally matched season, respectively.

No differences were cited for influenza-like illness events, influenza and/or pneumonia events by vaccine group.

The study was focused on healthy adults ages 18 to 49 years, who are required to be vaccinated against the flu. The authors noted that high-risk adults, such as those aged 50 and older or with immunocompromising conditions, were not included.

The study was supported by the U.S. Military Vaccine (MILVAX) Agency.

“Between 2006 and 2009, TIV and LAIV had similar effectiveness in preventing ILI and influenza/pneumonia events among healthy adults,” the authors concluded.

  1. Phillips CJ, Woolpert T, Sevick C, Faix D, Blair PJ, Crum-Cianflone NF. Comparison of the Effectiveness of Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine and Live, Attenuated Influenza Vaccine in Preventing Influenza-Like Illness Among US Military Service Members, 2006-2009. Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Jan;56(1):11-9. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis860. Epub 2012 Nov 26. PubMed PMID: 23183869.

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