Vaccine Effectiveness Against Pediatric Influenza Hospitalizations and Emergency Visits

BACKGROUND Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses initially predominated during the US 2018-2019 season, with antigenically drifted influenza A(H3N2) viruses peaking later. We estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) against laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits among children in the New Vaccine Surveillance Network.
METHODS We tested children 6 months to 17 years with acute respiratory illness for influenza using molecular assays at 7 pediatric hospitals (ED patients<5 years at 3 sites). Vaccination status sources were parental report, state immunization information systems and/or provider records for inpatients, and parental report alone for ED patients. We estimated VE using a test-negative design, comparing odds of vaccination among children testing positive versus negative for influenza using multivariable logistic regression.
RESULTS Of 1792 inpatients, 226 (13%) were influenza-positive: 47% for influenza A(H3N2), 36% for A(H1N1)pdm09, 9% for A (not subtyped), and 7% for B viruses. Among 1944 ED children, 420 (22%) were influenza-positive: 48% for A(H3N2), 35% for A(H1N1)pdm09, 11% for A (not subtyped), and 5% for B viruses. VE was 41% (95% confidence interval [CI], 20% to 56%) against any influenza-related hospitalizations, 41% (95% CI, 11% to 61%) for A(H3N2), and 47% (95% CI, 16% to 67%) for A(H1N1)pdm09. VE was 51% (95% CI, 38% to 62%) against any influenza-related ED visits, 39% (95% CI, 15% to 56%) against A(H3N2), and 61% (95% CI, 44% to 73%) against A(H1N1)pdm09.
CONCLUSIONS The 2018-2019 influenza vaccine reduced pediatric influenza A-associated hospitalizations and ED visits by 40% to 60%, despite circulation of a drifted A(H3N2) clade.

as reported in: Pediatrics. 2020 Oct 5 [Epub ahead of print]