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Background: The cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVc) is now offered as an alternative to egg-based quadrivalent (QIVe) and adjuvanted trivalent (aTIV) influenza vaccines in the UK. While post-licensure studies show non-inferiority of cell-based vaccines, it is not known how its safety profile compares to other types of vaccines in real-world use. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using computerised medical records from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) sentinel network database. We used a self-controlled case series design and calculated the relative incidence (RI) of adverse events of interest (AEIs) over different risk periods. We then compared the RIs of AEIs within seven days of vaccination overall and between QIVc and QIVe in the 18–64 years age group, and between QIVc and aTIV in the ≥65 years age group. Findings: The majority of AEIs occurred within seven days of vaccination, and a seasonal effect was observed. Using QIVc as the reference group, QIVe showed similar incidence of AEIs whereas live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) and aTIV had lower incidence of AEIs. In the stratified analyses, QIVe and aTIV were associated with a 16% lower incidence of AEIs in the seven days post-vaccination in both the 18–64 years and ≥65 years age groups. Interpretation: Routine sentinel network data allow comparisons of safety profiles of equally suitable seasonal influenza vaccines. The higher incidence of AEIs associated with QIVc suggest monitoring of several seasons would allow robust comparisons to be made. Funding: Public Health England.

Original publication




Journal article


The Lancet Regional Health - Europe

Publication Date