New Public Health England (PHE) guidance supports the use of the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV) in older people saying that it would lead to large reductions in GP consultations and hospitalisations.
The guidance, which is based on an analysis of existing evidence, says that although the quadrivalent vaccine offers the potential to provide broader direct protection against the two major influenza B strains, the inclusion of the live attenuated quadrivalent vaccine in the childhood vaccination programme provides indirect protection to older people by reducing transmission.
The benefits of the quadrivalent vaccine for older people are limited and should instead be considered for adult at-risk groups, such as pregnant women, PHE says.
Priority for the aTIV should be for those aged 75 years and above, but the vaccine would also be effective and cost-effective in those aged 65–74 years. The guidance states: “Trivalent adjuvanted vaccine is a more appropriate choice than standard quadrivalent vaccine for older people.”
However, on 30 January 2018, GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, said that the NHS and other European healthcare providers should consider expanding administering of quadrivalent vaccines in order to protect against “Aussie flu”, which is thought to now be the most prevalent strain in Europe. GlobalData said it believed that the extra cost of the vaccine amounted to a better long-term investment than the trivalent vaccine.