CDC: Despite Vaccination Measures, Influenza Outbreaks Can Still Occur In Highly Vaccinated Military Populations
Influenza Outbreak in a Vaccinated Population — USS Ardent, February 2014
On February 10, 2014, the USS Ardent, a U.S. Navy minesweeper, was moored in San Diego, California, while conducting training. Over the course of 3 days, 25 of 102 crew members sought medical care because of influenza-like illness (ILI). Nasal swab specimens were collected from each patient, and initial rapid influenza testing indicated 16 cases of influenza A. Ultimately, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing conducted by the Naval Health Research Center determined that 20 specimens were influenza A, of which 18 were subtype H3N2. Two specimens could not be subtyped. The HA gene sequence of an outbreak isolate was 99% identical to strains circulating during the 2013–14 influenza season and antigenically similar to the H3N2 component of the 2013–14 influenza vaccine...This outbreak highlights the risk for an H3N2 influenza outbreak among vaccinated and otherwise healthy young persons.
... Ninety-nine of 102 USS Ardent crew members, 24 of the 25 with ILI symptoms, and 17 of 18 crew members with confirmed influenza A (H3N2) infection had received the 2013–14 influenza vaccine ≥3 months before the outbreak. Vaccinations had been administered at local naval health clinics and at a vaccination fair conducted by Naval Medical Center San Diego. Of the 25 crew members with ILI symptoms, 16 were vaccinated via intradermal injection, eight via intranasal mist, and one had not received vaccination.
...Since the 1950s, a policy of mandatory annual vaccination against influenza for active duty personnel has been largely successful in limiting influenza epidemics in the military (8). The current U.S. Department of Defense influenza vaccination policy mandates that all uniformed personnel receive seasonal influenza vaccination, unless medically exempt, or face punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The policy specifically directs all Navy operational units to be at least 90% vaccinated. However, despite vaccination measures, influenza outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated military populations (9,10).
I need to repeat that last sentence and post those two references:
However, despite vaccination measures, influenza outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated military populations.
And from another source on this vaccine failure: The virus was antigenically similar to the H3N2 component of the 2013-2014 vaccine, and 17 of the 18 with confirmed H3N2 had been vaccinated at least 3 months earlier (overall, 99% of the crew had been vaccinated).
Here too, are the other vaccine failure incidences. These cases represent failure to protect but also evidence that vaccine recipients may be the carriers of these viruses.
Reference 9 - Earhart KE, Beadle C, Miller LK, et al. Outbreak of influenza in highly vaccinated crew of U.S. Navy ship. Emerg Infect Dis 2001;7:463–5.:
This outbreak demonstrates the potential for rapid spread of influenza A throughout a confined population despite appropriate vaccination. The efficiency of human-to human transmission is emphasized by the fact that there was no discernible difference in attack rates between various areas of the ship by the end of the outbreak. Although over 95% of the Arkansas crew were appropriately immunized with the 1995-96 influenza vaccine, at least 42% became ill with influenza; when definite and probable cases were included, the attack rate was 54%, for an estimated 46% efficacy of the 1995-96 influenza vaccine.
Reference 10 - Cosby MT, Pimental G, Nevin RL, et al. Outbreak of H3N2 Influenza at a US Military Base in Djibouti during the H1N1 pandemic of 2009. PLoS One 2013;7:e82089:
Despite high vaccination rates, influenza outbreaks with significant operational impact do occur . It has been shown that deployed military personnel played an important role in the global spread of disease during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 .
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During the H1N1 influenza A pandemic of 2009 [A(H1N1)pdm09], outbreaks among military personnel were quickly identified [4-6], reflecting the rapid global spread of disease......as deployed US military members typically have vaccination rates exceeding 90%, ongoing surveillance among this population helps gauge vaccine effectiveness.
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) today voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season. ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for everyone 6 months and older...
...How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including characteristics of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and even which vaccine is used. LAIV contains live, weakened influenza viruses. Vaccines containing live viruses can cause a stronger immune response than vaccines with inactivated virus. LAIV VE data before and soon after licensure suggested it was either comparable to, or better than, IIV. The reason for the recent poor performance of LAIV is not known.
It is all a mystery....like so many others from the CDC. No matter what, the message is to VACCINATE.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.