Background to Seasonal Influenza


Jason Lee, M.S., Ph.D.(c), discusses the background to seasonal influenza.

Jason Lee, M.S., Ph.D.(c): Hello, and welcome to this Medical Economics® Between the Lines program. Today’s featured article is, “Efficacy and Effectiveness of High-Dose Influenza Vaccine in Older Adults by Circulating Strain and Antigenic Match: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” My name is Jason Lee, and I’m the director of health economics for vaccines in North America for Sanofi, based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m also joined by Dr. John J. Russell, a clinical professor of family and community medicine at the Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and chair of the department of family medicine program and director of the family medicine residency in Abington, Pennsylvania.

John J. Russell, M.D.: Jason, it’s great to be with you today.

Jason Lee, M.S., Ph.D.(c): In this discussion, we’ll review the featured article, have a nice discussion about it, and then talk about wide-ranging subjects, including the impact of chronic health conditions on adults. We’ll talk about the economic burden of influenza, racial disparities with influenza, and the potential for coinfections with COVID-19 and influenza.

Let’s begin with the article about a systematic review and meta-analysis we conducted to examine the efficacy and effectiveness of high-dose influenza vaccine in older adults as well as by circulating strain and antigenic match. Seasonal influenza epidemics continue to represent a very substantial public health burden, especially in older adults aged over 65 years. Because of a number of medical comorbidities and weakened immune systems that are generally present in this population, seniors account for over 60% of the annual hospitalization burden of influenza and up to 90% of the annual influenza deaths in the United States. Because of this, older adults are a priority group for annual influenza vaccination because of the greater risk of influenza-related complications.

There are a number of available vaccine options indicated specifically for this age group that aim to improve immune responses and protection for this population. One of these vaccines is a high-dose inactivated influenza vaccine [HD-IIV], Fluzone High-Dose, which we’ll be abbreviating in this presentation as HD-IIV. This vaccine has seen widespread use in the United States and has been incorporated into publicly funded programs in a number of other countries. There have been a number of studies conducted since the licensure of the vaccine in the United States that examined the efficacy and effectiveness of the high-dose vaccine compared with a standard-dose influenza vaccine in preventing influenza-related illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Transcript edited for clarity

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