Researchers Compare Injection-Site Reactions Among Adults 65 and Older Who Received Flu Vaccines

Schmader, et al. (2021) note that trivalent adjuvanted inactivated influenza vaccine (aIIV3) and trivalent high-dose inactivated influenza vaccine (HD-IIV3) are U.S.-licensed for adults aged 65 years and older. Data are needed on the comparative safety, reactogenicity, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) effects of these vaccines.

The researchers sought to compare safety, reactogenicity, and changes in HRQOL scores after aIIV3 vs HD-IIV3. This randomized blinded clinical trial was a multicenter U..S study conducted during the 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 influenza seasons. Among 778 community-dwelling adults aged at least 65 years and assessed for eligibility, 13 were ineligible and 8 withdrew before randomization. Statistical analysis was performed from August 2019 to August 2020.

A total of 757 adults were randomized, 378 to receive aIIV3 and 379 to receive HD-IIV3. Of these participants, there were 420 women (55%) and 589 White individuals (78%) with a median (range) age of 72 (65-97) years. The proportion reporting moderate-to-severe injection-site pain, limiting or preventing activity, after aIIV3 (12 participants [3.2%]) (primary outcome) was non-inferior compared with HD-IIV3 (22 participants [5.8%]) (difference −2.7%; 95% CI, −5.8 to 0.4). Ten reactions met noninferiority criteria for aIIV3; 4 (moderate-to-severe injection-site tenderness, arthralgia, fatigue, malaise) did not. It was inconclusive whether these 4 reactions occurred in higher proportions of participants after aIIV3. No participant sought medical care for a vaccine reaction. No AECI was observed. Nine participants had at least SAE after aIIV3 (2.4%; 95% CI,1.1% to 4.5%); 3 had at least 1 SAE after HD-IIV3 (0.8%; 95% CI, 0.2% to 2.2%). No SAE was associated with vaccination. Changes in pre-vaccination and post-vaccination HRQOL scores were not clinically meaningful and not different between the groups.

The researchers conclude that overall safety and HRQOL findings were similar after aIIV3 and HD-IIV3, and consistent with prelicensure data. From a safety standpoint, this study’s results support using either vaccine to prevent influenza in older adults.

Reference: Schmader KE, et al. Safety, Reactogenicity, and Health-Related Quality of Life After Trivalent Adjuvanted vs Trivalent High-Dose Inactivated Influenza Vaccines in Older Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(1):e2031266. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.31266

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