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There is uncertainty whether the 2009 seasonal influenza vaccination influences the risk of infection with the 2009 pandemic influenza A(H1N1) virus. This issue was investigated in 548 healthcare workers from Capital and Coast District Health Board, Wellington, New Zealand, presenting with influenza-like illness during the influenza pandemic between June and August 2009. All workers completed an assessment sheet and had a nasopharyngeal swab tested by real-time RT-PCR. The risk of pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection associated with the 2009 seasonal inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine was determined by logistic regression, with adjustment for potential confounding variables. In 96 workers pandemic influenza A(H1N1) RNA was detected and 452 tested negative. The multivariate analysis did not show any effect of vaccination on PCR-confirmed influenza A(H1N1)2009 infection (odds ratio 1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.7-1.9, p=0.48). We conclude that 2009 seasonal influenza vaccination had no protective effect against influenza A(H1N1)2009 infection amongst healthcare workers. To protect against further waves of the current pandemic influenza or future pandemics in which the influenza virus is antigenically distinct from contemporary seasonal influenza viruses, it would be necessary to vaccinate with a specific pandemic influenza vaccine, or a seasonal influenza vaccine that includes the pandemic influenza serotype.


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