Association between Influenza Vaccine Administration and Primary Care Consultations for Respiratory Infections: Sentinel Network Study of Five Seasons (2014/2015-2018/2019) in the UK.
Parimalanathan V., Joy M., Van Dam PJ., Fan X., de Lusignan S.
Influenza, a vaccine preventable disease, is a serious global public health concern which results in a considerable burden on the healthcare system. However, vaccine hesitancy is increasingly becoming a global problem. One prevalent misconception is that influenza vaccinations can cause the flu. We carried out this study to determine whether people undertaking influenza vaccination presented less with acute respiratory tract infection (ARTI) and influenza-like-illness (ILI) following vaccination. We utilised the Oxford Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre sentinel database to examine English patients who received vaccination between 2014/2015 and 2018/2019. Of the 3,841,700 influenza vaccinations identified, vaccination details and primary care respiratory consultation counts were extracted to calculate the relative incidence (RI) per exposure risk period using the self-controlled case series methodology. Results showed a significant increase in the RI of respiratory consultation rates within fourteen days of vaccination across all five years. Less than 6.2% of vaccinations led to consultations for ARTI or ILI in primary care (crude consultation rate 6196 per 100,000). These findings, particularly if confirmed in further research, may reduce the risk of cross-infection between waiting patients and increase uptake of influenza vaccine.