At the start of the 2019-2020 influenza season, concern arose that circulating B/Victoria viruses of the globally emerging clade V1A.3 were antigenically drifted from the strain included in the vaccine. Intense B/Victoria activity was followed by circulation of genetically diverse A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses, that were also antigenically drifted. We measured vaccine effectiveness (VE) in the United States against illness from these emerging viruses.
We enrolled outpatients aged ≥6 months with acute respiratory illness at five sites. Respiratory specimens were tested for influenza by reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Using the test-negative design, we determined influenza VE by virus sub-type/lineage and genetic subclades by comparing odds of vaccination in influenza cases versus test-negative controls.