Background: Influenza vaccination is recognized as a primary public health intervention which prevents the illness of patients and relieves the societal burdens of influenza for medical community as well as the economy. To date, no effectiveness study of influenza vaccination has been conducted including a large population with a wide age span, in Japan. Here, we evaluated the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in a large Japanese population. Methods: We conducted a cohort study using a large-scale claims database for employee health care insurance plans. Vaccination status was identified using plan records for influenza vaccination subsidies. We excluded people aged 65 years or more because of the unavailability of vaccination records. Effectiveness of vaccination in preventing influenza and its complication was evaluated with doubly robust methods using inversed probability treatment weighting to adjust health conscious behaviours and other confounders. Results: During the 2013/2014 influenza season, 369,425 subjects with age range from 1 to 64 years were eligible. Vaccination rate was 39.5% and an estimated odds ratio (OR) for influenza onset was 0.775 after doubly robust adjustment. Age-stratified ORs were significantly reduced in all age groups; lowest in subjects aged 1 to 4 years (0.600) and highest in those aged 13 to 19 (0.938). ORs for all the influenza complication outcomes were also statistically significant (0.403-0.709). Conclusions: We confirmed the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in people aged 1 to 64 years. Influenza vaccination significantly prevented influenza onset and was more effective in reducing secondary risks of influenza complications.
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