Despite high burden of disease, influenza continues to suffer from perceived lack of risk, contributing to low vaccine uptake among parents and Canadian adults
MONTREAL, Sept. 29, 2022 /CNW/ - CSL Seqirus, a business of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL), today announced new data from two Canadian studies investigating influenza vaccination uptake, perceptions about influenza, and the importance of vaccination. The data were presented at the international Options for the Control of Influenza (OPTIONS XI) conference, held in Belfast, United Kingdom, from September 26-29, 2022.
A national survey of Canadians aged 18 years and older found that while the COVID-19 pandemic has positively shifted attitudes about vaccines and vaccination intentions, reported influenza vaccine uptake in adult Canadians remains low, especially relative to their high vaccination rates against COVID-19.
"As challenging as the pandemic has been, it has also been educational, helping reinforce the importance of vaccination. It is concerning that this has not yet translated into improved uptake of the annual flu vaccination in Canada," said Dr. Samir K. Sinha, MD, DPhil, FRCPC, AGSF, Geriatrician and Director of Health Policy Research at Toronto Metropolitan University's National Institute on Ageing and the study's lead author. "Particularly among more vulnerable populations, such as older adults, we need to think creatively about how to improve access to influenza vaccines. Our study found that offering co-administration of influenza and COVID-19 boosters at the same time, along with improving public coverage of enhanced vaccines for older adults are examples of strategies that would both be welcome and can likely help improve overall vaccine uptake and further benefit adult Canadians."
Another survey showed that parents' perceptions of their children's influenza risk contributed to a low pediatric vaccination rate and that parents who spoke to a healthcare provider (HCP) about influenza vaccination were more likely to have their child vaccinated.
"These surveys clearly illustrate the need for Canadians to better understand the risk of influenza and how vaccines can effectively help to prevent infection," said Bertrand Roy, Ph.D., Country Head, Medical Affairs, Canada. "Protecting people will be particularly important this fall with the threat of a resurgence of influenza cases based on trends in the Southern Hemisphere, coupled with decreased social distancing."
ABOUT THE STUDIES PRESENTED AT OPTIONS XI
Understanding Influenza Vaccination Uptake During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada (Poster Exhibition: Monday, September 26, 2022, #P-189).
A national online survey of 1,503 respondents aged 18 years and older was conducted in Canada in August 2022. The objectives of the survey included better understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on influenza vaccination intentions and uptake and how the influenza vaccination gap in Canada can be improved.
While Canada achieved one of the world's highest vaccination coverage levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, there continues to be a significant gap in immunization rates for other vaccine-preventable diseases, including influenza across the countryi.
Among Canadian adults, influenza's perceived lack of risk highly contributed to its low vaccine uptake. The survey results suggest, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has positively shifted attitudes about vaccines and vaccination intentions. In addition, 59% of adult Canadians indicated that they would get a COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time.
Canadians also recognize the importance of enhanced vaccines. 77% of adult Canadians think it is important that older Canadians have access to enhanced vaccines and 82% think that enhanced vaccines should be available free of charge to older Canadians. At the same time, 32% of older Canadians report that they would be more likely to get vaccinated against the flu if their province/territory offered enhanced influenza vaccines.
Pediatric Influenza Vaccination Uptake and Intentions in Canada and the Role of Health Care Providers (Poster Exhibition: Monday, September 26, 2022, #P-187).
A national online survey conducted in 2021 was designed to evaluate parental perceptions regarding the importance of pediatric influenza vaccination, as well as the role of healthcare providers (HCPs) in educating and influencing vaccine administration rates in children.
In this survey of 1,500 parents of children aged 6 months to 17 years, responses suggest that approximately two thirds of Canadian children were not vaccinated during the 2021-2022 influenza season. This low vaccination uptake was heavily influenced by parental perceptions of their children's low influenza risk.
The survey also suggested that parents' own vaccination status had a significant impact on the likelihood that their children would be vaccinated, noting that of parents who get vaccinated every year 70% report they also vaccinate their children annually. Among parents who get vaccinated less frequently, only 17% said they vaccinate their children every year.
Finally, while less than half (44%) of respondents recalled having a discussion about influenza vaccination for their children, survey respondents who spoke to an HCP about influenza vaccination reported they were more likely to have their child vaccinated.
About Seasonal Influenza
Influenza is a common, contagious seasonal respiratory disease and can cause mild to severe illness, which can result in hospitalization or death.ii Adults may spread influenza to others from 1 day before symptoms begin to approximately 5 days after symptoms start.ii Children and people with weakened immune systems may be infectious longer.
Influenza is related to an average of 12,200 hospitalizations and approximately 3,500 deaths each year in Canada.ii Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends annual influenza vaccination for all individuals six months of age and older.ii Further, NACI recommends including all children between 6 and 59 months of age among the particularly recommended recipients of the influenza vaccine. ii
NACI recommends that healthcare providers in Canada offer the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as feasible after it becomes available in the fall, since seasonal influenza activity may start as early as October in the Northern Hemisphere. ii
About CSL Seqirus
CSL Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, CSL 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, CSL 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; USOTC: CSLLY) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of lifesaving medicines, including those that treat haemophilia 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 three businesses, CSL Behring, CSL Seqirus and CSL Vifor – provides lifesaving products to patients in more than 100 countries and employs 30,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For inspiring stories about the promise of biotechnology, visit CSLBehring.com/Vita and follow us on Twitter.com/CSL.
For more information about CSL, visit www.CSL.com.
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Government of Canada. (2020). Canadian Immunization Guide Chapter on Influenza and Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2020– 2021 Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/vaccines-immunization/canadian-immunization-guidehttps://c212.net/c/link/?t=0&l=en&o=3485923-1&h=1594542492&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canada.ca%2Fen%2Fpublic-health%2Fservices%2Fpublications%2Fvaccines-immunization%2Fcanadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021.html&a=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.canada.ca%2Fen%2Fpublic-health%2Fservices%2Fpublications%2Fvaccines-immunization%2Fcanadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021.htmlstatement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021.html. Accessed September 2022.
SOURCE CSL Seqirus
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