Research Article| Volume 85, ISSUE 6, P660-665, December 2022

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Effectiveness of influenza vaccination in reducing influenza-like illness and related antibiotic prescriptions in adults from a primary care-based case-control study

Published:October 23, 2022DOI:


      • Influenza vaccination reduced primary care presentations for ILI.
      • The pooled estimated reduction over 4 years was 24% (95%CI 11-34%).
      • Influenza vaccination also reduced antibiotic prescribing for ILI.
      • However, this was only observed in patients without comorbidities and aged 40-65yrs.



      Evidence on the effectiveness of influenza vaccine in preventing antibiotic prescriptions for influenza-like illness (ILI) in adults is limited.


      A primary care-based case-control study was conducted to estimate influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) against influenza-like illness (ILI) and antibiotic prescribing for ILI in adults aged ≥40 years. Cases were patients diagnosed with ILI from 1st June to 30th September in each year, 2015-2018; a subset of those with ILI prescribed antibiotics was also defined. Controls were patients attending a practice who did not receive an ILI diagnosis. Generalised estimating equations were used to calculate adjusted VE overall, by age (<65 versus ≥65 years) and comorbidity status.


      The number of ILI cases varied from 558 in 2018 to 2901 in 2017 and controls from 86618 in 2015 to 136763 in 2017. Over 4 years the pooled estimate of VE was 24% (95%CI, 11% to 34%) against ILI and 15% (95%CI, -3% to 29%) against antibiotic prescription for ILI. Influenza vaccine was effective in reducing ILI with an associated antibiotic prescriptions in patients aged <65 years (VE=23%, 95%CI, 3% to 38%) and if no comorbidities were recorded (VE=22%, 95%CI, 1% to 39%) but not in other subgroups.


      Influenza vaccine reduced the likelihood of antibiotic prescriptions for ILI in low-risk adults (40-64 years and those without comorbidities).



      ILI (Influenza-like illness), VE (Vaccine effectiveness)
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