Influenza vaccine effectiveness against influenza-A-associated emergency department, urgent care, and hospitalization encounters among U.S. adults, 2022-2023

J Infect Dis. 2023 Dec 2:jiad542. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiad542. Online ahead of print.


Background: The 2022-2023 United States influenza season had unusually early influenza activity with high hospitalization rates. Vaccine-matched A(H3N2) viruses predominated, with lower levels of A(H1N1)pdm09 activity also observed.

Methods: Using the test-negative design, we evaluated influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) during the 2022-2023 season against influenza-A-associated emergency department/urgent care (ED/UC) visits and hospitalizations from October 2022-March 2023 among adults (age ≥18 years) with acute respiratory illness (ARI). VE was estimated by comparing odds of seasonal influenza vaccination among case-patients (influenza A test-positive by molecular assay) and controls (influenza test-negative), applying inverse-propensity-to-be-vaccinated weights.

Results: The analysis included 85,389 ED/UC ARI encounters (17.0% influenza-A-positive; 37.8% vaccinated overall) and 19,751 hospitalizations (9.5% influenza-A-positive; 52.8% vaccinated overall). VE against influenza-A-associated ED/UC encounters was 44% (95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 40-47%) overall and 45% and 41% among adults aged 18-64 and ≥65 years, respectively. VE against influenza-A-associated hospitalizations was 35% (95%CI: 27-43%) overall and 23% and 41% among adults aged 18-64 and ≥65 years, respectively.

Conclusions: VE was moderate during the 2022-2023 influenza season, a season characterized with increased burden of influenza and co-circulation with other respiratory viruses. Vaccination is likely to substantially reduce morbidity, mortality, and strain on healthcare resources.

Keywords: H3N2; clinical outcomes; influenza; test-negative design; vaccine effectiveness.