Rapid surveillance for health events following a mass meningococcal B vaccine program in a university setting: A Canadian Immunization Research Network study

JM Langley, DM MacDougall, BA Halperin, A Swain, SA Halperin, KA Top, SA McNeil, D MacKinnon-Cameron, K Marty, G De Serres, E Dubé and JA Bettinger

Vaccine , 2016;34:4046–4049

An outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis serotype B infection occurred at a small residential university; public health announced an organizational vaccination program with the 4-component Meningococcal B (4CMenB) vaccine (Bexsero(TM), Novartis/GlaxoSmithKline Inc.) several days later. Since there were limited published data on reactogenicity of 4CMenB in persons over 17years of age, this study sought to conduct rapid surveillance of health events in vaccinees and controls using an online survey. Vaccine uptake was 84.7% for dose 1 (2967/3500) and 70% (2456/3500) for dose 2; the survey response rates were 33.0% (987/2967) and 18.7% (459/2456) in dose 1 and dose 1 recipients respectively, and 12% in unvaccinated individuals (63/533). Most students were 20-29years of age (vaccinees, 64.0%; controls, 74.0). A new health problem or worsening of an existing health problem was reported by 30.0% and 30.3% of vaccine recipients after doses 1 and 2 respectively; and by 15.9% of controls. These health problems interfered with the ability to perform normal activities in most vaccinees reporting these events (74.7% post dose 1; 62.6% post dose 2), and in 60% of controls. The health problems led to a health care provider visit (including emergency room) in 12.8% and 14.4% of vaccinees post doses 1 and 2, respectively and in 40% of controls. The most common reactions in vaccinees were injection site reactions (20.6% post dose 1, 16.1% post dose 20 and non-specific systemic complaints (22.6% post dose 1, 17.6% post dose 2). No hospitalizations were reported. An online surveillance program during an emergency meningococcal B vaccine program was successfully implemented, and detected higher rates of health events in vaccinees compared to controls, and high rates of both vaccinees and controls seeking medical attention. The types of adverse events reported by young adult vaccinees were consistent with those previously.

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