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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Vanderbilt: Vaccine Study Seeks to Halt Flu’s Most Severe Side Effects

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is leading a multicenter national study to evaluate the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine for preventing the flu’s most serious side effects — admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), organ failure and death.

The Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness in the Critically Ill (IVY) study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will enroll about 700 adults during the 2019-2020 flu season who are hospitalized with symptoms of severe acute respiratory infection.

“Historically, the many studies evaluating the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine have focused on whether the vaccine completely prevented illness,” said Dr. Wesley Self, associate professor of emergency medicine and the study’s principal investigator. “Now we are studying whether the vaccine prevents patients from becoming critically ill.”

“Our goal is to quantify how effective the flu vaccine is for preventing people from getting critically ill. We’re specifically investigating whether the vaccine has benefits to patients in terms of preventing organ failure and death,” Dr. Self said.

The new information will help inform how strong the recommendations for annual flu vaccination should be and help frame discussions about how and why to make better vaccines,” he added.

Other VUMC investigators in the IVY study include: Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, associate professor of medicine; Dr. Carlos Grijalva, associate professor of health policy; Dr. Natasha Halasa, associate professor of pediatrics; Dr. Chris Lindsell, professor of biostatistics; and Dr. Todd Rice, associate professor of medicine.

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