Vaccine safety results for 2017 flu shots published
AusVaxSafety have reported on and confirmed the safety of seasonal influenza vaccines since 2014. This active, participant-based surveillance system is a valuable tool for post-marketing monitoring of vaccine safety for the early detection of potential issues, especially for annually changing influenza vaccines. AusVaxSafety provides important, locally-derived data which ensure confidence in the safety of vaccines in use in Australia.
The results of AusVaxSafety’s safety surveillance for the influenza vaccines administered in Australia in 2017 have recently been published in the journal BMJ Open, and identified no safety issues.
Surveillance included 73,892 participants aged 6 months and older from across Australia who were vaccinated at one of 194 sentinel immunisation clinics and responded to an SMS/email survey sent via the SmartVax, Vaxtracker, or STARSS surveillance tools about adverse events experienced in the days following influenza vaccination.
Rates of reported adverse events were low and within expected ranges for all age groups and pregnant women. The most commonly reported adverse event following influenza immunisation was injection site pain (1.7%). Other commonly reported events included injection site redness, swelling, and other non-serious events such as tiredness or headache. Adverse event rates were similar for Fluarix Tetra (GlaxoSmithKline) and FluQuadri (Sanofi-Aventis), the two most commonly received influenza vaccine brands in the population surveyed in 2017.
Colleagues at the Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia used statistical analyses to monitor medical attendance rates each week. Rates of medical attendance following vaccination – which is used as a proxy for serious adverse events – were low (0.4%).