The 10 years between the last influenza pandemic and start of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic have been marked by great advances in our ability to follow influenza occurrence and determine vaccine effectiveness (VE), largely based on widespread use of the polymerase chain reaction assay. We examine the results, focusing mainly on data from the United States and inactivated vaccines. Surveillance has expanded, resulting in increased ability to characterize circulating viruses and their impact. The surveillance has often confirmed previous observations on timing of outbreaks and age groups affected, which can now be examined in greater detail. Selection of strains for vaccines is now based on enhanced viral characterization using immunologic, virologic, and computational techniques not previously available. Vaccine coverage has been largely stable, but VE has remained modest and, in some years, very low. We discuss ways to improve VE based on existing technology while we work toward supraseasonal vaccines.
Keywords: influenza; influenza vaccines; public health surveillance; sentinel surveillance; vaccine effectiveness.
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