The identification of influenza epidemics and assessment of the efficacy of vaccination against this infection are major challenges for the implementation of effective public health strategies, such as vaccination programs. In this study, we developed a new pharmacometric model to evaluate the efficacy of vaccination based on infection surveillance data from the 2010/2011 to 2018/2019 influenza seasons in Japan. A novel susceptible-infected-removed plus vaccination model, based on an indirect response structure with the effect of vaccination, was applied to describe seasonal influenza epidemics using a preseasonal collection of data regarding serological H1 antibody titer positivity and the fraction of virus strains. Using this model, we evaluated Kin (a parameter describing the transmission rate of symptomatic influenza infection) for different age groups. Furthermore, we defined a new parameter (prevention factor) showing the efficacy of vaccination against each viral strain and in different age groups. We found that the prevention factor of vaccination against influenza varied among age groups. Notably, children aged 5–14 years showed the highest Kin value during the 10 influenza seasons and the greatest preventive effect of vaccination (prevention factor = 70.8%). The propagation of influenza epidemics varies in different age groups. Children aged 5–14 years most likely play a leading role in the transmission of influenza. Prioritized vaccination in this age group may be the most effective strategy for reducing the prevalence of influenza in the community.
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