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Lancet Public Health - Have you herd? Indirect flu vaccine effects are critically important

1 February, 2017

A recent Comment in the Lancet Public Health refers to a publication in the same journal authored by Immunisation HPRU members titled Effect of mass paediatric influenza vaccination on existing influenza vaccination programmes in England and Wales: a modelling and cost-effectiveness analysis.

Hodgson and colleagues “project that live-attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) programmes focused on young individuals are in themselves highly cost-effective health interventions. However, their analysis highlights the importance of herd effects for decision makers: a rapidly implemented LAIV programme focused on children aged 2–16 years is actually more effective at preventing disease in elderly people than a more slowly implemented programme that includes both LAIV and direct immunisation of elderly people themselves. This finding is because a rapid, early focus on young individuals, in whom the vaccine is more effective, stops the influenza epidemic in its tracks. Furthermore, when young individuals are vaccinated, seasonal vaccination programmes targeted at low-risk elderly individuals might cease to be cost-effective (depending on the notoriously murky definition of cost-effectiveness threshold) because herd effects already effectively reduce risk for these individuals.”

Read the Lancet Public Health Comment here.

 

Read the Lancet Public Health Article by Hodgson D(1), Baguelin M(2), van Leeuwen E(3), Panovska-Griffiths J(4), Ramsay M(5), Pebody R(6), Atkins KE(7) here.

1 Centre for Mathematics, Physics and Engineering in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology, University College London, London, UK

2 Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Respiratory Diseases Department, Public Health England, London, UK

3 Respiratory Diseases Department, Public Health England, London, UK; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analyses and Modelling, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK

4 Centre for Mathematics, Physics and Engineering in the Life Sciences and Experimental Biology, University College London, London, UK; Clinical and Operational Research Unit, Department of Mathematics, University College London, London, UK; Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK

5 Immunisation, Hepatitis and Blood Safety Department, Public Health England, London, UK

6 Respiratory Diseases Department, Public Health England, London, UK

7 Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK