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. 2010 Apr 6;7(4):e1000258.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258.

Association Between the 2008-09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness During Spring-Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies From Canada

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Association Between the 2008-09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness During Spring-Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies From Canada

Danuta M Skowronski et al. PLoS Med. .
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Abstract

Background: In late spring 2009, concern was raised in Canada that prior vaccination with the 2008-09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) was associated with increased risk of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness. Several epidemiologic investigations were conducted through the summer to assess this putative association.

Studies included: (1) test-negative case-control design based on Canada's sentinel vaccine effectiveness monitoring system in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; (2) conventional case-control design using population controls in Quebec; (3) test-negative case-control design in Ontario; and (4) prospective household transmission (cohort) study in Quebec. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for TIV effect on community- or hospital-based laboratory-confirmed seasonal or pH1N1 influenza cases compared to controls with restriction, stratification, and adjustment for covariates including combinations of age, sex, comorbidity, timeliness of medical visit, prior physician visits, and/or health care worker (HCW) status. For the prospective study risk ratios were computed. Based on the sentinel study of 672 cases and 857 controls, 2008-09 TIV was associated with statistically significant protection against seasonal influenza (odds ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.33-0.59). In contrast, estimates from the sentinel and three other observational studies, involving a total of 1,226 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,505 controls, indicated that prior receipt of 2008-09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring-summer 2009, with estimated risk or odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 2.5. Risk of pH1N1 hospitalization was not further increased among vaccinated people when comparing hospitalized to community cases.

Conclusions: Prior receipt of 2008-09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring-summer 2009 in Canada. The occurrence of bias (selection, information) or confounding cannot be ruled out. Further experimental and epidemiological assessment is warranted. Possible biological mechanisms and immunoepidemiologic implications are considered.

Conflict of interest statement

DMS has previously received research grant funding from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur for separate studies. GDS and NB have received research grant funding from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur for separate studies. GB has received funding from GlaxoSmithKline for unrelated projects. SAVOIR contributor Allison McGeer has received investigator initiated research grant funding from GlaxoSmithKline, and speaking honoraria from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi-Pasteur.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Summary of main findings.
Fully adjusted effect measures and 95% confidence intervals from four epidemiologic studies in Canada to assess the association between 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) and risk of community-based seasonal influenza and pH1N1 illness. *Note: Boxes show point estimates for the OR for each study/subgroup except the Quebec prospective cohort study for which the effect measure displayed is the RR. See Tables 1, 3, and 5 for covariates included in adjusted analyses. RR for the Quebec prospective cohort study was age-stratified but not further adjusted (see tables 1 and 6). LCL, lower confidence limit; UCL, upper confidence limit.

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