U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Vaccine 27 (2009) 3568–3575.


Limited effectiveness data are available comparing live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) to inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) among adults. To compare the incidence of influenza-like illness following immunization of adults with LAIV vs. TIV,we conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of active component U.S. military personnel for the 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 influenza seasons. Recruits experienced a much higher burden of disease compared to non-recruits, with crude incidence rates of influenza-like illness 2–16 times higher than non-recruits depending on the season and cohort. For both seasons, a slightly greater protection from influenza-like illness was found for non-recruits who received TIV compared to LAIV (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.17 (95% CI, 1.14–1.20) and 1.33 (95% CI, 1.30–1.36), 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 influenza seasons, respectively). However, for Army and Air Force recruits, LAIV was found to provide significantly greater protection from influenza-like illnesses compared to TIV, with adjusted incidence rates of influenza-like illness 22–51% and 18–47% lower among LAIV compared to TIV recipients for the 2005–2006 and 2006–2007 influenza seasons, respectively. Possible reasons for differences in recruit and non-recruit findings include differences in pre-existing influenza antibody levels, differing respiratory disease burden, and/or unmeasured confounding. Consideration of these findings should be made when developing influenza immunization policies.