The H9N2 subtype of avian influenza virus (H9N2 AIV) has caused significant losses in chicken flocks throughout China. At present, consensus has been reached that field isolates of H9N2 underwent antigenic drift to evolve into distinct groups with significant antigenic divergence from the commercially available vaccines in China. This project continues to monitor the evolution characteristics of H9N2 hemagglutinin (HA) genes in China over the past 3 yr. The results showed that the current circling H9N2 viruses were diversified into h188.8.131.52 subclade, which was genetically distant from commonly used commercial vaccine strains. Compared with vaccine strains or 2014 strains, more than 42.1% of the variable antigenic sites in recent 3 yr’ strains have shown significant changes and these stacked changes have caused significant differences in antigenicity. We constructed a recombinant vaccine strain rCQY-GHHA, which uses A/Chicken/China/SichuanCQY/2014 as the framework and A/Chicken/China/SichuanGH/2020 strain, which meets the recent viral antigenic characteristics, as the HA gene donor. The recombinant strain was prepared as an oil-adjuvant inactivated vaccine following an industrial process. The results of the immune protection experiment showed that the rCQY-GHHA vaccine was better than the commercial vaccine strain SS in reducing the morbidity, pathological lesion, virus shedding, and viral load. These results provide a reference for the control of H9N2 AIV in China.Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.