Assessment of indirect protection from maternal influenza immunization among non-vaccinated household family members in a randomized controlled trial in Sarlahi, Nepal

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date











Indirect effects of vaccination; Influenza; Nepal; Pregnancy; Vaccine


© 2020 The Authors Influenza is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and the World Health Organization highly recommends maternal vaccination during pregnancy. The indirect effect of maternal vaccination on other close contacts other than newborns is unknown. To evaluate this, we conducted a nested substudy between 2011 and 2012 of influenza and acute respiratory illness (ARI) among household members of pregnant women enrolled in a randomized placebo-controlled trial of antenatal influenza vaccination in the rural district of Sarlahi, Nepal. Women were assigned to receive influenza vaccination or placebo during pregnancy and then they and their household members were followed up to 6 months postpartum with weekly symptom surveillance and nasal swab collection. Swabs were tested by RT-PCR for influenza. Rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza and of ARI were compared between vaccine and placebo groups using generalized estimating equations with a Poisson link function. Overall, 1752 individuals in 520 households were eligible for inclusion. There were 82 laboratory-confirmed influenza illness episodes, for a rate of 7.0 per 100 person-years overall. Of the influenza strains able to be typed, 29 were influenza A, 40 were influenza B, and 6 were coinfections with influenza A and B. The rate did not differ significantly whether the household was in the vaccine or placebo group (rate ratio (RR) 1.37, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.83–2.26). The rate of ARI was 28.5 per 100 person-years overall and did not differ by household group (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.72–1.36). Influenza vaccination of pregnant women did not provide indirect protection of unvaccinated household members.