Live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) might increase the risk of wheezing in persons with asthma or children younger than 5 years with a history of recurrent wheezing.
To describe the use and assess the safety of LAIV in persons with asthma in the Vaccine Safety Datalink population.
We identified persons with asthma using diagnosis codes and medication records in 7 health care organizations over 3 influenza seasons (2008-2009 through 2010-2011) and determined their influenza vaccination rates. Using the self-controlled risk interval method, we calculated the incidence rate ratio of medically attended respiratory events in the 14 days after LAIV compared with 29 to 42 days after vaccination in persons 2 through 49 years old.
In our population of 6.3 million, asthma prevalence was 5.9%. Of persons with asthma, approximately 50% received any influenza vaccine but less than 1% received LAIV. The safety study included 12,354 LAIV doses (75% in children; 93% in those with intermittent or mild persistent asthma). The incidence rate ratio for inpatient and emergency department visits for lower respiratory events (including asthma exacerbation and wheezing) was 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.63-1.51) and the incidence rate ratio for upper respiratory events was 0.94 (95% confidence interval 0.48-1.86). The risk of lower respiratory events was similar for intermittent and mild persistent asthma, across age groups, and for seasonal trivalent LAIV and 2009 H1N1 pandemic monovalent LAIV.
LAIV use in asthma was mostly in persons with intermittent or mild persistent asthma. LAIV was not associated with an increased risk of medically attended respiratory adverse events.