Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the Inpatient Setting; Evaluation of Potential Bias in the Test Negative Design by use of Alternate Control Groups

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American journal of epidemiology


The test negative design is validated in outpatient but not inpatient studies of influenza vaccine effectiveness. The prevalence of chronic pulmonary disease among inpatients may lead to nonrepresentative controls. Test negative design estimates are biased if vaccine administration is associated with incidence of non-influenza viruses. We evaluated whether control group selection and effects of vaccination on non-influenza viruses biased vaccine effectiveness in our study. Subjects were enrolled at the University of Michigan and Henry Ford hospitals during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Patients presenting with acute respiratory infection were enrolled and tested for respiratory viruses. Vaccine effectiveness was estimated using three control groups: influenza negative, other respiratory virus positive, and pan-negative individuals; it was also estimated for other common respiratory viruses. In 2014-15, vaccine effectiveness was 41.1% (95% CI: 1.7%, 64.7%) using influenza negative, 24.5% (95% CI: -42.6%, 60.1%) using other-virus positive, and 45.8% (95% CI: 5.7%, 68.9%) using pan-negative controls. In 2015-16, vaccine effectiveness was 68.7% (95% CI: 44.6%, 82.5%) using influenza negative, 63.1% (95% CI: 25.0%, 82.2%) using other-virus positive, and 71.1% (46.2%, 84.8%) using pan-negative controls. Vaccination did not alter odds of other respiratory viruses. Results support use of the test negative design among inpatients.

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ePub ahead of print