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Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness, 2005-2018

CDC conducts studies to measure the benefits of seasonal flu vaccination each flu season to help determine how well flu vaccines are working. These vaccine effectiveness (VE) studies regularly assess and confirm the value of flu vaccination as a public health intervention. Study results of vaccine effectiveness can vary based on study design, outcome(s) measured, population studied and the season in which the flu vaccine was studied.

CDC has been working with researchers at universities and hospitals since the 2003-2004 flu season to estimate how well flu vaccine works through observational studies using medically attended laboratory-confirmed flu as the outcome. This is the U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness (VE) Network. The U.S. Flu VE Network currently consists of five study sites across the United States that measure the flu vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing outpatient medical visits due to laboratory-confirmed influenza. CDC’s observational studies at U.S. Flu VE Network sites measure outpatient visits* for laboratory-confirmed influenza infections using a highly accurate lab test called rRT-PCR to verify the outcome. These studies compare the odds of vaccination among outpatients with acute respiratory illness and laboratory-confirmed influenza infection to the odds of vaccination among outpatients with acute respiratory illness who test negative for influenza infection.

The overall, adjusted vaccine effectiveness estimates for influenza seasons from 2005-2018 are noted in the chart below. (Estimates are typically adjusted for study site, age, sex, underlying medical conditions, and days from illness onset to enrollment.)

Table. Adjusted vaccine effectiveness estimates for influenza seasons from 2005-2018

Influenza Season

Reference

Study Site(s)

No. of Patients

Adjusted Overall VE (%)

95% CI

2004-05

Belongia 2009

WI

762

10

-36, 40

2005-06

Belongia 2009

WI

346

21

-52, 59

2006-07

Belongia 2009

WI

871

52

22 ,70

2007-08

Belongia 2011

WI

1914

37

22, 49

2008-09

Unpublished

WI, MI, NY, TN

6713

41

30, 50

2009-10

Griffin 2011

WI, MI, NY, TN

6757

56

23, 75

2010-11

Treanor 2011

WI, MI, NY, TN

4757

60

53, 66

2011-12

Ohmit 2014

WI, MI, PA, TX, WA

4771

47

36, 56

2012-13

McLean 2014

WI, MI, PA, TX, WA

6452

49

43, 55

2013-14

Gaglani 2016

WI, MI, PA, TX, WA

5999

52

44, 59

2014-15

Zimmerman 2016

WI, MI, PA, TX, WA

9311

19

10, 27

2015-16

Jackson 2017

WI, MI, PA, TX, WA

6879

48

41, 55

2016-17*

Unpublished final estimates.  WI, MI, PA, TX, WA  7410

40*

 32, 46*

2017-18**

Flannery 2018  WI, MI, PA, TX, WA 4,562

36**

 27, 44**

*Interim 2016-2017 VE estimates (4/20/2016-4/9/2017) were presented to ACIP in June 2017 [743KB, 19 pages]

**Interim early estimates may differ from final end-of-season estimates.

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Figure. Effectiveness of Seasonal Flu Vaccines from the 2004-2018 Flu Seasons

Seasonal Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Historogram

Download Excel Version [16 KB]

Text Version

This is a bar graph representing the effectiveness of seasonal flu vaccines from the 2004-05 season through the 2016-17 flu season.

On the left, the y-axis shows the effectiveness percent. The percent goes from zero to 70. Along the x-axis, it lists the flu seasons from 2004-05 to 2016-17. There are two disclaimers for flu seasons 2015-16 and 2016-17. The numbers presented for the 2015-16 flu season were CDC estimates from November 2, 2015 through April 15, 2016. The second disclaimer is that the numbers presented for the 2016-17 flu season are from a draft of a manuscript in progress.

In 2004-05, the flu vaccine was 10 percent effective.

In 2005-06, the flu vaccine was 21 percent effective.

In 2006-07, the flu vaccine was 52 percent effective.

In 2007-08, the flu vaccine was 37 percent effective.

In 2008-09, the flu vaccine was 41 percent effective.

In 2009-10, the flu vaccine was 56 percent effective.

In 2010-11, the flu vaccine was 60 percent effective.

In 2011-12, the flu vaccine was 47 percent effective.

In 2012-13, the flu vaccine was 49 percent effective

In 2013-14, the flu vaccine was 52 percent effective.

In 2014-15, the flu vaccine was 19 percent effective.

In 2015-16, the flu vaccine was 48 percent effective.

In 2016-17, the flu vaccine was 39 percent effective.

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Belongia EA, Kieke BA, Donahue JG, et al. Effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccines varied substantially with antigenic match from the 2004-2005 season to the 2006-2007 season. J Infect Dis. 2009 Jan 15;199(2):159-67. doi:10.1086/595861. PubMed PMID: 19086915.

Belongia EA, Kieke BA, Donahue JG,et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness in Wisconsin during the 2007-08 season: comparison of interim and final results. Vaccine. 2011 Sep 2;29(38):6558-63. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Jul 19. PubMed PMID: 21767593.

Flannery B, Clippard J, Zimmerman RK, Norwalk MP, Jackson ML, Jackson LA, Monto AS, Petrie JG, McLean HQ, Belongia EA, Gaglani M, Berman L, Foust A, Sessions W, Thaker SN, Spencer S, Fry AM. Early Estimates of Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness – United States, January 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Jan 13;64(1);10-15.(https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6401a4.htm)

Griffin MR, Monto AS, Belongia EA, et al. Effectiveness of non-adjuvanted pandemic influenza A vaccines for preventing pandemic influenza acute respiratory illness visits in 4 U.S. communities. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23085. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023085. Epub 2011 Aug 12. PubMed PMID: 21857999.

McLean HQ, Thompson MG, Sundaram ME, Kieke BA, Gaglani M, Murthy K, Piedra PA, Zimmerman RK, Nowalk MP, Raviotta JM, Jackson ML, Jackson L, Ohmit SE, Petrie JG, Monto AS, Meece JK, Thaker SN, Clippard JR, Spencer SM, Fry AM, Belongia EA. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the United States During 2012-2013: Variable Protection by Age and Virus Type. J Infect Dis. 2014 Nov 18. pii: jiu647. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25406334.

Ohmit SE, Thompson MG, Petrie JG, et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness in the 2011-2012 season: protection against each circulating virus and the effect of prior vaccination on estimates. Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Feb;58(3):319-27. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit736. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Treanor JJ, Talbot HK, Ohmit SE, et al. Effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccines in the United States during a season with circulation of all three vaccine strains. CID 2012; 55(7):951-959. Epub 2012 Jul 25. PubMed PMID: 22843783.

Jackson ML, Chung JR, Jackson LA, Phillips CH, Benoit J, Monto AS, Martin ET, Belongia EA, McLean HQ, Gaglani M, Murthy K, Zimmerman R, Nowalk MP, Fry AM, Flannery B. N Engl J Med. 2017 Aug 10;377(6):534-543. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1700153. PMID: 2879286

* From 2004-05 through 2010-11, the Network also enrolled inpatients.

† Vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates for the 2008-2009 flu season have not yet been published.

‡ Number of patients used in VE calculation.

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