FLU NEWS SCAN: Flu vaccine effectiveness in Canada, flu vaccine workshop

Jan 16, 2013

Early estimate of flu vaccine effectiveness in Canada is 47%
Canadian researchers estimate that the seasonal flu vaccine has reduced Canadians' risk of flu by about 47% so far this season, according to a Canadian Press (CP) story yesterday. "It seems that this vaccine is cutting your risk of influenza in half, which . . . is still important protection, especially if you're a high-risk person," said Danuta Skowronski, MD, of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, who oversees a flu surveillance network of about 200 doctors in five provinces. When patients seek care for an influenza-like illness, physicians in the network test them for flu and find out if they had a flu vaccination. Ninety percent of the patients who tested positive had an influenza A virus, and 10% had type B. Skowronski said the A component of the vaccine appears to reduce the risk of flu by 45% to 50%. There were too few type B cases to calculate a reliable separate estimate, but the overall estimate of effectiveness was 47%. Accordingly, Skowronski said doctors caring for patients at risk for flu complications should not assume the vaccine would fully protect them. The Canadian estimate compares with an overall estimate of 62% effectiveness for the vaccine in the United States, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. The CDC said the vaccine was 55% effective against A and 70% effective against B.
Jan 15 CP story
Related Jan 11 CIDRAP News story

PAHO, WHO convene workshop on business models for flu vaccine
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Regional Office for the Americas wrapped up a 3-day workshop today on business models for influenza vaccine manufacturing that will serve all countries of the region, according to a PAHO/WHO new release. The workshop, co-sponsored by the WHO and the US Department of Health and Human Services, is the sixth in a series that began in 2010 as part of the WHO's Global Action Plan for Influenza Vaccines, released in 2006. The meeting, attended by national, regulatory, and manufacturing professionals from 28 countries, was designed "to promote the creation of regionally based, independent, and sustainable vaccine production capacity in developing countries through capacity building and technology transfer," according to the release. "We need to improve regional capacities for influenza vaccine manufacturing," said PAHO Deputy Director Jon K. Andrus, MD, at the start of the meeting. Marie-Paule Kieny, PhD, WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation, added that equitable access to flu vaccines, especially during a pandemic, "can only be achieved through concerted action at the global level, with the support of rational business models."
Jan 14 PAHO/WHO update

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