Meeting report narcolepsy and pandemic influenza vaccination: What we know and what we need to know before the next pandemic? A report from the 2nd IABS meeting

Biologicals. 2019 Jul:60:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.biologicals.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 23.


A group of scientific and public health experts and key stakeholders convened to discuss the state of knowledge on the relationship between adjuvanted monovalent inactivated 2009 influenza A H1N1 vaccines used during the 2009 influenza pandemic and narcolepsy. There was consensus that an increased risk of narcolepsy was consistently observed after Pandemrix (AS03-adjuvanted) vaccine, but similar associations following Arepanrix (AS03-adjuvanted) or Focetria (MF59-adjuvanted) vaccines were not observed. Whether the differences are due to vaccine composition or other factors such as the timing of large-scale vaccination programs relative to H1N1pdm09 wild-type virus circulation in different geographic regions is not clear. The limitations of retrospective observational methodologies could also be contributing to some of the differences across studies. More basic and epidemiologic research is needed to further elucidate the association between adjuvanted influenza vaccine and narcolepsy and its mechanism and to inform planning and preparation for vaccination programs in advance of the next influenza pandemic.

Keywords: Adjuvants; Antigen system 03 (AS03); H1N1pdm09 influenza vaccines; Narcolepsy; Pandemic influenza; Pandemrix vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Science Disciplines
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines* / administration & dosage
  • Influenza Vaccines* / adverse effects
  • Influenza, Human* / epidemiology
  • Influenza, Human* / immunology
  • Influenza, Human* / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Narcolepsy* / chemically induced
  • Narcolepsy* / epidemiology
  • Narcolepsy* / immunology
  • Pandemics*
  • Societies, Scientific
  • Vaccination*


  • Influenza Vaccines