Atlanta—The CDC has not expressed a preference on whether adults aged 65 years and older should receive an enhanced influenza vaccine.
That will likely change, however, now that the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday unanimously recommended—by a vote of 15-0—that those older adults receive a quadrivalent high-dose inactivated vaccine, a quadrivalent recombinant vaccine, or a quadrivalent adjuvanted inactivated vaccine instead of the standard-dose, unadjuvanted inactivated influenza vaccines.
In a presentation, Lisa Grohskopf, MD, of the CDC's influenza division noted that older adults are at an increased risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from influenza. Yet, the standard vaccines are often less effective in that cohort.
Dr. Grohskopf pointed out that based on current usage, "Approximately 2,000 additional deaths would be prevented with enhanced flu vaccines," adding that an additional 400 deaths would be prevented if all adults aged 65 years and older received the adjuvanted or enhanced dosage vaccines.
If and when the CDC director decides to accept that recommendation, details will be published in the agency's Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.
Almost simultaneously with the ACIP meeting, the manufacturer of the influenza vaccine, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, released a survey showing that most (66%) of surveyed healthcare providers (HCPs) in the U.S. said that if they were able to recommend to the CDC one influenza vaccine for adults aged 65 years and older, they would choose a vaccine with the clinical profile of that Fluzone product.
In a press release, Sanofi said it would sponsor the survey, which involved 700 U.S. HCPs and was conducted by Ipsos, the world's third-largest insights and analytical company.
Responding to the survey, two-thirds (66%) of the HCPs said that if they were ACIP voting members, they would recommend the use of a vaccine like Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent for adults aged 65 years and older. Asked to explain their preference, respondents to the blinded survey mentioned the vaccine's superior efficacy compared with a standard-dose influenza vaccine and total years evaluated in real-world studies.
"The survey results underscore the importance of an ACIP preferential recommendation and come as the ACIP evaluates data to provide guidance for flu vaccines in this vulnerable population," the press release noted.
Other survey findings include:
• 76% of HCPs would recommend a vaccine with the clinical profile of Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent for their family and friends, if aged older than 65 years.
• 72% of HCPs would prefer a vaccine with the clinical profile of Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent for themselves, if aged 65 years and older.
• 96% of HCPs are very or somewhat likely to follow ACIP guidance when vaccinating adults aged 65 years and older for seasonal flu.
Michael Greenberg, MD, the North America Medical Head of Vaccines at Sanofi, referred to the survey when he said, "It's important for ACIP guidance to follow the science, especially for older adults who suffer the greatest burden from seasonal flu."
The press release noted that the Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is the only vaccine approved by the FDA for superior flu protection in adults aged 65 years and older, compared with a standard-dose flu vaccine.
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