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Newly adopted flu vaccine could save 1,700 lives

Published on 12/09/17 at 10:40am

The Fluad flu vaccine, produced by Seqirus, was approved by the MHRA for use beginning in 2018 and further data has been released to back up this decision, showing that a potential 1,700 lives could be saved through its use.

The data, presented at the European Scientific Working group on Influenza, displayed that the vaccine was effective at protecting adults over the age of 65 and also reduced the incidence of influenza.

The new vaccine uses an adjuvant, meaning that the vaccine helps the body’s immune system to develop a stronger reaction to the flu virus. This is particularly important for people 65 years and over whose immune system has weakened with age. The study predicted that a potential 175,000 cases of influenza could be prevented.

Part of the reason that the MHRA approved the vaccine for use is based on the cost-effectiveness of protecting those at risk. Dr Van Hung Nguyen, the lead author of the study noted, “The model demonstrated that the adjuvanted vaccine had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £3,540 per quality-adjusted life year if used preferentially in those aged 65 years of age and over in the UK. This is well within, and actually considerably below, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence’s guideline threshold of £20,000 per quality-adjusted life year for medicines.”

In fact, the vaccine is expected contribute to relieving of pressure on GPs and the cost of caring for elderly patients suffering from the virus. In total, the study estimated that the introduction of the vaccine could lead to a reduction in GP consultations, attributable to flu, by 21,800.

“Health economic analyses consistently show that more effective flu vaccines are very good value in older patients,” said Dr Marco Barbieri of the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York. “They reduce the number of GP consultations, A&E visits and episodes of serious illness and, of course, they help older people to remain healthy and independent”.

The vaccine has actually been in use since 1997 across Europe but will become the first adjuvant therapy to be used within the UK during the 2018/19 flu season.

Ben Hargreaves

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