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Australia was alerted to a possible increase in allergy-related adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) with 2015 seasonal trivalent influenza vaccines (TIV) by the Victorian state vaccine safety service, SAEFVIC. We describe SAEFVIC’s initial investigation and upon conclusion of the 2015 influenza vaccination programme, to define the signal event and implications for vaccine programmes. Allergy-related AEFI were defined as anaphylaxis, angioedema, urticaria or generalised allergic reaction. Investigations compared 2015 TIV AEFI reports to previous years as proportions and reporting risk (RR) per 100,000, stratified by influenza vaccine brand. The initial investigation showed an increased proportion of allergy-related AEFI compared with 2014 (25% vs 12%), predominantly in adults, with insufficient clinical severity to alter the programme risk-benefit. While overall TIV AEFI RR in 2015 was similar to previous years (RR: 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.88–1.29), we identified a near-doubling RR for allergy-related AEFI in 2015 (RR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.14­– 2.80) from 2011 to 2014 with no difference by vaccine brand or severity increase identified. This increase in generalised allergy-related AEFI, across all used vaccine brands, supports evidence of variable reactogenicity arising from influenza vaccine strain variations. This investigation underlines the importance of effective seasonal influenza vaccine pharmacovigilance.


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