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Live attenuated flu vaccine gets ACIP nod for 2018-2019 season



The latest seasonal influenza vaccine recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices provide several key updates that will impact clinical practice in the 2018-2019 influenza season.


Of note, live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV; FluMist Quadrivalent) is an option, following two seasons in which the committee recommended it not be used.

ACIP also updated its recommendations for individuals with a history of egg allergy, described the vaccine strains chosen for 2018-2019 season, and detailed the changes in age indications for Afluria Quadrivalent and Fluarix Quadrivalent that have been made since publication of its previous guidelines.

Published in MMWR Recommendations and Reports, the updated ACIP recommendations reflect discussions and decisions from the three public meetings of ACIP that have taken place since the last annual update.

All individuals 6 months of age and older who have no contraindications to influenza vaccine should receive routine annual influenza vaccine, ACIP also said in its report, reinforcing a key recommendation that has been in place since 2010.

“To avoid missed opportunities for vaccination, providers should offer vaccination during routine health care visits and hospitalizations,” wrote authors of the report, including lead author Lisa A. Grohskopf, MD, of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

Dr. Grohskopf and coauthors made no specific recommendations on which vaccine to use. They said providers should choose licensed, age-appropriate recommended vaccines expected to be available for the 2018-2019 season, including inactivated influenza vaccines (IIV), a recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV4), and the LAIV option.

FluMist Quadrivalent, the one LAIV product expected to be available for the 2018-2019 season, is licensed for individuals aged 2-49 years.

In its deliberations over the updated LAIV recommendation, ACIP reviewed observational data from previous seasons suggesting that the vaccine was poorly effective, and significantly less effective than IIV, against influenza A(H1N1) pdm09 viruses.

The current formulation of FluMist includes a new H1N1pdm09-like vaccine virus. While no effectiveness estimates were available at the time of review, ACIP said it did consider manufacturer data on shedding and immunogenicity for the current vaccine in children between the ages of 24 months through less than 4 years.

“These data suggest that this new H1N1pdm09-like virus has improved replicative fitness over previous H1N1pdm09-like viruses included in LAIV,” Dr. Grohskopf and colleagues wrote.

Individuals with an egg allergy history also can receive any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate IIV, RIV, or LAIV vaccine, said ACIP. This updated recommendation was based in part on the committee’s review and discussion of three studies that showed no cases of anaphylaxis in egg-allergic children receiving LAIV.

The ACIP recommendation update also outlines the strains selected earlier this year for the 2018-2019 season. Trivalent influenza vaccines in the United States will include an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09–like virus, an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Colorado/06/2017–like virus (Victoria lineage). Quadrivalent vaccines will include those strains plus a B/Phuket/3073/2013–like virus (Yamagata lineage).

The report also acknowledges the recent expansion of age indication for two vaccines that have occurred since the last ACIP recommendations.

Afluria Quadrivalent was previously licensed for individuals 18 years of age and older. In August 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved expansion of the indication to individuals 5 years of age or older. In January 2018, FDA approved expansion of the Fluarix Quadrivalent indication, previously licensed for age 3 and older, to individuals 6 months and older.

Report coauthor Emmanuel B. Walter disclosed grants from Novavax and Merck. The remaining report authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Grohskopf LA et al. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2018 Aug 24;67(3):1-20.

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