- Seqirus have delivered record numbers of influenza vaccines across Europe in time for this flu season, responding to increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The first annual EU Flu Day organised by Vaccines Europe launches today, 14 October, highlighting the importance of flu vaccination across Europe, particularly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Average influenza vaccination rates across Europe are currently at just over 40%, well short of the European target of 75%.1
- The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that 15,000-70,000 people in Europe die from influenza-related complications each year and encourages annual vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza.2
Providing frontline partnership for an influenza season unlike any other
The first annual EU Flu Day was launched today, 14 October 2020. Marking the occasion, Seqirus, a global leader in influenza prevention, announced that it has delivered shipments of influenza vaccines on schedule, across Europe. The specialist vaccine manufacturer has extended production, responding to the unprecedented demand from national governments in preparation for this flu season.
The EU Flu Day campaign is spearheaded by Dolors Montserrat, a leading Member of the European Parliament, and supported by Vaccines Europe, a specialised group of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).
Dolors Montserrat, MEP, said “There will be two viruses co-circulating this Winter, placing strain on health resources. It is therefore critical that nations across Europe take advantage of influenza vaccination to protect their at-risk populations”.
There will be additional pressure on health care systems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Immunisation against seasonal influenza will be critical to protect health care resources from becoming overwhelmed by increased demand, following a potential second wave of coronavirus disease.
“The potential for COVID-19 to persist or resurge during the upcoming influenza season is generating significant demand for influenza vaccines,” said Enric Canelles, Seqirus VP Commercial Operations, EMEA. “It is important to protect those most at risk from influenza because they are also the most vulnerable to COVID-19. As the only global vaccine company solely dedicated to the prevention of influenza, Seqirus is rising to the challenge by partnering with public health in efforts to protect the people and health systems of Europe at this critical time.”
Across Europe, seasonal influenza can infect up to 20% of the population depending on which strains of influenza are circulating2, and according to the World Health Organisation, each year up to 72,000 people in Europe die of respiratory diseases linked to seasonal influenza.3
As a global manufacturer, Seqirus provides vaccines against seasonal influenza for both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere countries, where the nature and pattern of virus circulation in one hemisphere can be instructive for prevention and control in another. This year, Seqirus partnered with the Australian Government to deliver a record number of flu vaccines, working closely with experts and health care professionals to navigate social distancing requirements and periods of lockdown. Seqirus has drawn on this experience from the Southern Hemisphere season, working closely with stakeholders, to inform the approach to the forthcoming influenza season in Europe.
“In Australia, we saw very strong demand for flu vaccines earlier than usual, with people recognising the particular importance of flu vaccination programs this season,” said Lorna Meldrum, Vice President, Commercial Operations, International Markets & Pandemic. “One key takeout from the Southern Hemisphere season was the importance of coordination of everyone involved in flu vaccination, from suppliers, to government, to health care professionals, it was a united effort to distribute a record number of flu vaccines.
Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, Seqirus is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. With state-of-the-art production facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and leading R&D capabilities, Seqirus utilizes egg, cell and adjuvant technologies to offer a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.
CSL (ASX:CSL) is a leading global biotechnology company with a portfolio of medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies.
Today, CSL — including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus - provides health products to more than 70 countries and employs more than 27,000 people. Our proven combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live their lives. For more information about CSL Limited, visit www.csl.com.
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1 Eurostat database. Available at https://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/show.do?query=BOOKMARK_DS-372339_QID_-5F2F50B2_UID_-3F171EB0&layout=TIME,C,X,0;GEO,L,Y,0;UNIT,L,Z,0;INDICATORS,C,Z,1;&zSelection=DS-372339UNIT,PC;DS-372339INDICATORS,OBS_FLAG;&rankName1=UNIT_1_2_-1_2&rankName2=INDICATORS_1_2_-1_2&rankName3=TIME_1_0_0_0&rankName4=GEO_1_2_0_1&sortC=ASC_-1_FIRST&rStp=&cStp=&rDCh=&cDCh=&rDM=true&cDM=true&footnes=false&empty=false&wai=false&time_mode=NONE&time_most_recent=false&lang=EN&cfo=%23%23%23%2C%23%23%23.%23%23%23 (accessed: 29 September 2020)
2 ECDC. Factsheet about seasonal influenza. Available at https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/seasonal-influenza/facts/factsheet (accessed: 13 August 2020)
3 EURO WHO. Influenza - Estimating burden of disease. Available at https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/communicable-diseases/influenza/seasonal-influenza/burden-of-influenza (accessed: 13 August 2020)