Uptake and impact of vaccinating primary school-age children against influenza: Experiences of a live attenuated influenza vaccine programme, England, 2015/16
Pebody RG., Sinnathamby MA., Warburton F., Andrews N., Boddington NL., Zhao H., Yonova I., Ellis J., Tessier E., Donati M., Elliot AJ., Hughes HE., Pathirannehelage S., Byford R., Smith GE., de Lusignan S., Zambon M.
© the authors, 2018. The 2015/16 influenza season was the third season of the introduction of an intra-nasally administered live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) for children in England. All children aged 2-6 years were offered LAIV, and in addition, a series of geographically discrete areas piloted vaccinating school-age children 7-11 years old. Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was the dominant circulating strain during 2015/16 followed by influenza B. We measured influenza vaccine uptake and the overall and indirect effect of vaccinating children of primary school-age, by comparing cumulative disease incidence in targeted and non-targeted age groups in vaccine pilot and non-pilot areas in England. Uptake of 57.9% (range: 43.6-72.0) was achieved in the five pilot areas for children aged 5-11 years. In pilot areas, cumulative emergency department respiratory attendances, influenza-confirmed hospitalisations and intensive care unit admissions were consistently lower, albeit mostly non-significantly, in targeted and non-targeted age groups compared with non-pilot areas. Effect sizes were less for adults and more severe endpoints. Vaccination of healthy primary school-age children with LAIV at moderately high levels continues to be associated with population-level reductions in influenza-related respiratory illness. Further work to evaluate the population-level impact of the programme is required.