OBJECTIVE: To actively solicit adverse events experienced in the days following immunisation with quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine using Australia's near real-time, participant-based vaccine safety surveillance system, AusVaxSafety.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Observational cohort study conducted in 194 sentinel surveillance immunisation sites (primary care, hospital and community-based clinics) across Australia.
PARTICIPANTS: Individuals aged ≥6 months who received a routine seasonal influenza vaccine at a participating site (n=102 911) and responded to a survey (via short message service or email) sent 3 days after vaccination about adverse events experienced (n=73 892; 71.8%).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Near real-time and cumulative participant-reported rates of any adverse event, fever or medical attendance experienced within 3 days after vaccination overall, by brand, age, pregnancy status and concomitant vaccine receipt.
RESULTS: Participant median age was 57 years (range: 6 months to 102 years); 58.1% (n=42 869) were female and 2.7% (n=2018) were pregnant. Near real-time fast initial response cumulative summation and Bayesian analyses of weekly event rates did not demonstrate a safety signal. Children aged 6 months to 4 years had higher event rates (522/6180; 8.4%) compared with older ages; participants aged ≥65 years reported fewer events (1695/28 154; 6.0%). There were no clinically significant differences in safety between brands, by age group or overall. Cumulative data analysis demonstrated that concomitant vaccination was associated with increased rates of fever (2.1% vs 0.8%) and medical attendance (0.8% vs 0.4%), although all rates were low and did not exceed expected levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Novel, postmarketing AusVaxSafety surveillance demonstrated comparable and expected safety outcomes for the 2017 quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine brands used in Australia. These near real-time, participant-reported data are expected to encourage confidence in vaccine safety and promote uptake.