Postmarketing safety surveillance of quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine: reports to the vaccine adverse event reporting system.
On October 7, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration approved recombinant hemagglutinin quadrivalent influenza vaccine (RIV4) (Spodoptera frugiperda cell line; Flublok Quadrivalent) for active immunization for the prevention of influenza disease in individuals 18 years of age and older. Clinical trials did not reveal any major differences in adverse events or serious adverse events following Flublok Quadrivalent versus standard-dose quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. To improve our understanding of the safety profile of this vaccine, we reviewed and summarized adverse event reports after Flublok Quadrivalent administration to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Through June 30, 2020, VAERS received 849 reports after RIV4 vaccination. The vast majority (810; 95%) were non-serious. Among serious events, there were 10 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, including 5 people who required mechanical ventilation and 2 people who died. Many allergic reactions were reported as non-serious, but required interventions to treat a life-threatening event, e.g., epinephrine, nebulizers, albuterol, glucocorticoids, and supplemental oxygen. Two people experienced a positive rechallenge (i.e., allergic reactions after repeated vaccination with RIV4), including a person who-despite premedication with antihistamines-developed respiratory difficulties, required epinephrine, and was transported to the emergency department. The occurrence of anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions in some individuals may reflect an underlying predisposition to atopy that may manifest itself after an exposure to any drug or vaccine, and does not necessarily suggest that Flublok Quadrivalent is particularly allergenic. Postmarketing safety surveillance will continue to be vital for understanding the benefits and risks of quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine.