Several inactivated influenza vaccine formulations for systemic administration in man are currently available for annual (seasonal) immunization: split virus and subunit (either plain-aqueous, or virosomal, or adjuvanted by MF59). From a literature search covering the period 1978-2009, 33 articles could be identified, which described randomized clinical trials comparing at least two of the four vaccine formulations with respect to serum hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody response, local and systemic vaccine reactions and serious adverse events after vaccination, and employing seasonal vaccine components and doses. In total, 9121 vaccinees of all ages, either healthy or with underlying diseases, were involved. Most vaccinees were primed or had been vaccinated in previous years.For immunogenicity, homologous post-vaccination geometric mean HI titers (GMTs) were analyzed by a random effects model for continuous data. Unreported standard deviations (SD) were addressed by imputing assumed SD-values. Age and health state of the vaccinees appeared to have little influence on the outcome. The immunogenicity of split, aqueous and virosomal subunit formulations were similar, with geometric mean ratio values (GMR, quotient of paired GMT-values) varying around one (0.93-1.24). The MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine induced, on average, larger antibody titers than the non-adjuvanted vaccine formulations, but the absolute increase was small (GMR-values varying between 1.25 and 1.40).Vaccine reactions were analyzed using a random effects model for binary data. Local and systemic reactogenicity was similar among non-adjuvanted formulations. The adjuvanted subunit formulation was more frequently associated with local reactions than the non-adjuvanted formulations (rate ratio: 2.12, significant). Systemic reactions were similar among all vaccine formulations. The original articles emphasized the mild and transient character of the vaccine reactions and the absence of serious vaccine-related adverse events.This adequate amount of evidence led to the conclusion that all the currently available inactivated influenza vaccine formulations are safe, well tolerated and similarly effective to control seasonal influenza outbreaks across primed populations and age ranges.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Beyer, W., Nauta, J., Palache, A., Giezeman, K. M., & Osterhaus, A. (2011). Immunogenicity and safety of inactivated influenza vaccines in primed populations: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Vaccine, 29(34), 5785–5792. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.05.040