Effectiveness of influenza vaccines in preventing severe influenza illness among adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of test-negative design case-control studies

Marc Rondy, Nathalie El Omeiri, Mark G. Thompson, Alain Levêque, Alain Moren, Sheena G. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Summary evidence of influenza vaccine effectiveness (IVE) against hospitalized influenza is lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis of studies reporting IVE against laboratory-confirmed hospitalized influenza among adults. Methods We searched Pubmed (January 2009 to November 2016) for studies that used test-negative design (TND) to enrol patients hospitalized with influenza-associated conditions. Two independent authors selected relevant articles. We calculated pooled IVE against any and (sub)type specific influenza among all adults, and stratified by age group (18–64 and 65 years and above) using random-effects models. Results We identified 3411 publications and 30 met our inclusion criteria. Between 2010–11 and 2014–15, the pooled seasonal IVE was 41% (95%CI:34;48) for any influenza (51% (95%CI:44;58) among people aged 18–64y and 37% (95%CI:30;44) among ≥65 years). IVE was 48% (95%CI:37;59),37% (95%CI:24;50) and 38% (95%CI:23;53) against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, A(H3N2) and B, respectively. Among persons aged ≥65 year, IVE against A(H3N2) was 43% (95%CI:33;53) in seasons when circulating and vaccine strains were antigenically similar and 14% (95%CI:-3;30) when A(H3N2) variant viruses predominated. Conclusions Influenza vaccines provided moderate protection against influenza-associated hospitalizations among adults. They seemed to provide low protection among elderly in seasons where vaccine and circulating A(H3N2) strains were antigenically variant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Hospitalization
  • Influenza
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • Vaccine effectiveness

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