Global action plan for influenza vaccines

News Digest 2011


Pandemic H1N1 vaccine was effective

September 19 - Adjuvant H1N1 influenza vaccines were effective during the 2009 pandemic, but there are still several unanswered questions, according to a presentation during the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Prevention: Flu Shots’ Benefits Seen in Hospital Study

September 19 - A federal government recommendation to give preschoolers the flu vaccine has resulted in a large decrease in emergency room visits among 2- to 4-year-olds, new research has found. And there were benefits for older children as well. To judge the effect of the vaccination requirement, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital compared data on 114,657 emergency room visits by children under 18 for flulike symptoms at two hospitals, one in Boston and the other in Montreal, from 2000 through 2008. The study was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Indonesia ready to produce AI vaccine for humans

September 19 - The deputy of Indonesian Coordinating People’s Welfare Ministry, Emil Agustiono, has said that the country is ready to produce H5N1 vaccine for humans. “Airlangga University in Surabaya has prepared the master seed. This master seed then will be produced to be a vaccine by Bio Farma,” Agustiono informed. “By following the WHO’s recommendations, finally we found the variant which fulfill the aspect of immunology and its compatibility with field virus as master seed for vaccine,” he said.

Bangladesh to help make bird flu vaccine

September 18 - Bangladesh will share a new strain of bird flu virus, identified as a possible pandemic threat, with US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) to develop 'seed virus,' key ingredient to make a vaccine in emergency.

Vaccines for the north and south

September 18 - The formulations for flu vaccines for the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere are determined separately and may be different every year.

Swine flu vaccine link with narcolepsy probed

September 17 - The Health Service Executive says it is actively investigating a link between narcolepsy and the Pandemrix vaccine for swine flu. The HSE says it has written to all GPs, psychiatrists and consultant paediatricians to ask them to look out for the signs of narcolepsy - a chronic and debilitating sleep disorder. The Pandemrix vaccine is no longer on offer here and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended restricting its use, while a possible link to narcolepsy is investigated.

Doctors furious over decision not to advertise free flu jabs

September 15 - The Department of Health has refused to run a national advertising campaign to promote the free flu jabs that GP surgeries provide every autumn and winter. Senior doctors have accused ministers of endangering lives by not running a campaign urging people at risk from flu to get vaccinated, despite the virus killing more than 600 people last winter.

Vaccine Meetings Discuss Challenges, Achievements

September 14 - Two important vaccine meetings were held September 11 and 12 at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The September 12 meeting entitled Research Integrity Challenges in Vaccine Development and Distribution for Public Health Emergencies was sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Research Integrity, Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics, and The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Speakers focused on vaccine development and distribution for biological threats and how the emergency preparedness experiences with A/H1N1 provided lessons that might inform future preparation for similar public health emergencies.

Two Boston hospitals mandating flu shots for workers

September 14 - Two of Boston’s largest teaching hospitals will require all employees who have contact with patients to get a flu vaccine this fall or face suspension or possibly termination.

Medicago readies to demo flu vaccine capabilities in new RTP plant

September 13 - Biotechnology company Medicago (TSX:MDG), which is part of a national project to develop vaccine capabilities to respond to virus threats, could soon demonstrate whether its technology can rapidly develop and manufacture vaccines to respond to potential pandemic and bioterror threats. The company is starting out with plans to demonstrate the facility’s capacity to produce 10 million doses of influenza vaccine a month with the capacity to expand in the future.

Flu vaccines for nursing home workers effective in reducing outbreaks: study

September 12 - Higher flu vaccination rates for health care personnel can dramatically reduce the threat of flu outbreak among nursing home residents, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

CDC recommends Flu vaccinations be taken early for the season

September 9 - The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.

Flu vaccine business in full swing locally

September 9 - Locally available forms of the vaccine include the standard shots containing killed virus, nasal mist containing live virus and the high-dose vaccine. People over 65 who don't get the high-dose vaccine now must get two flu shots — one early in the season and another in January — to provide protection throughout flu season.

Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Reminders for Children With High-risk Conditions

September 7 - University of Michigan has conducted a study to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of using a statewide immunization information system (IIS) to send seasonal influenza vaccine reminders from Local Health Departments (LHDs), targeting children with high-risk conditions.

Protecting our elderly: beating flu outbreaks in nursing homes

September 7 - Flu outbreaks in nursing homes can lead to pneumonia, stroke and heart attacks among elderly residents. Staff are a major potential source of infection, but only around one in five get an annual flu shot. A randomised trial published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2006 showed that even being able to vaccinate half the staff can prevent half of all deaths during the flu season – a small outlay for a remarkable advantage. Whether this can be achieved in Australia through mandating health worker vaccination, provision of a free immunisation service or linking to nursing home accreditation needs to be investigated.

Study Validates Maternal Vaccination to Reduce Hospitalization of Infants due to Influenza

September 3 - Recent population-based, laboratory-confirmed influenza surveillance supports the currently proposed guidelines for immunizing pregnant women against influenza. The study results published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology show the reduced risk for influenza-attributable hospitalization among infants, born to vaccinated mothers, during their first 6 months of life.

NIH-Supported Scientists Examine Adjusting Flu Shot for Tots

September 1 - Saint Louis University is conducting a National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trial that studies whether a higher dose flu vaccine given to older children and adults is safe and more effective than the current lower dose given to tots.

Survey shows more US children getting vaccines

September 1 - More young children are getting immunized in the United States for preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and hepatitis A, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. The percentage of children who received the full series of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine rose to 66.8 percent from 54.8 percent.

Probe on narcolepsy–H1N1 vaccine link finds genetic risk factor

September 1 - A final report from Finnish health officials on the link between the 2009 H1N1 Pandemrix vaccine and narcolepsy confirmed the link, finding a greater risk than their earlier estimate and identifying a genetic risk factor in all patients.