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Potential Consequences of Not Using Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine

      Introduction

      Decreased live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) effectiveness in the U.S. prompted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in August 2016 to recommend against this vaccine’s use. However, overall influenza uptake increases when LAIV is available and, unlike the U.S., LAIV has retained its effectiveness in other countries. These opposing countercurrents create a dilemma.

      Methods

      To examine the potential consequences of the decision to not recommend LAIV, which may result in decreased influenza vaccination coverage in the U.S. population, a Markov decision analysis model was used to examine influenza vaccination options in U.S. children aged 2–8 years. Data were compiled and analyzed in 2016.

      Results

      Using recently observed low LAIV effectiveness values, fewer influenza cases will occur if LAIV is not used compared with having LAIV as a vaccine option. However, having the option to use LAIV may be favored if LAIV effectiveness returns to prior levels or if the absence of vaccine choice substantially decreases overall vaccine uptake.

      Conclusions

      Continued surveillance of LAIV effectiveness and influenza vaccine uptake is warranted, given their importance in influenza vaccination policy decisions.
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