(BPT) - The immune system is a complex and powerful network that protects the body from infection. Because the immune system weakens with age, older adults are at a higher risk for getting sick – and have more difficulty fighting off infection. Some illnesses, like the flu, may not be a health threat to most healthy adults but could be more dangerous to a person whose immune system has weakened with age.
Older adults represent the majority of flu-related hospitalizations and account for six times the number of deaths from flu-related complications – compared to other age groups combined. While many consider the flu to be a seasonable annoyance, the extent of the burden of influenza is underestimated and misunderstood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that from 2010 to 2020, the flu resulted in 9 million to 41 million illnesses annually in the United States.
On June 22, 2022, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) granted a preferential recommendation for the use of an adjuvanted vaccine and two higher dose vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose® Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine) and Flublok® Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine)) for adults 65+. If none of these three preferentially recommended vaccines is available at an opportunity for vaccine administration, then any other age-appropriate influenza vaccine should be used.
The updated recommendation from the CDC affirms that all flu vaccines are not created equal, and older populations require a specific level of protection. Of note, Sanofi was the first to offer a high-dose flu vaccine specifically for adults 65+, recognizing the significant need for this high-risk population.
Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent are indicated for immunization against disease caused by influenza A and B strains contained in the vaccine. Flublok Quadrivalent is given to people 18 years of age and older. Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is given to people 65 years of age and older.
Select Important Safety Information for Flublok® Quadrivalent and Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent
Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent should not be given to anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine (including eggs or egg products for Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent) or after previous dose of the vaccine. In addition, Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent should not be given to anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction after previous dose of any influenza vaccine.
Please see Important Safety Information below.
Sanofi considers preventing the flu and its serious complications a global public health priority and is committed to ensuring all eligible adults age 65+ – regardless of race, ethnicity, economic status – have access to higher-dose flu vaccines.
While the updated CDC recommendation is an important first step in creating clearer guidance on protection against the flu for this high-risk population, we believe there is still more work to be done to help reduce the burden of influenza in older adults. A stronger preference for influenza vaccines with clinically proven data would help further reduce health disparities and disease burden across the entire 65+ population. By making clinically-driven and data-informed recommendations for the use of preferred influenza vaccines for older persons, healthcare agencies can help reduce the pressure caused by seasonal influenza on healthcare systems.
Important Safety Information for Flublok® Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine) and Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine)
Tell your health care provider if you have ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome (severe muscle weakness) after a previous influenza vaccination.
If Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent are given to people with a compromised immune system, including those receiving therapies that suppress the immune system, the immune response may be lower than expected.
Vaccination with Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent may not protect all people who receive the vaccine.
For Flublok Quadrivalent, in adults 18 through 49 years of age, the most common side effects were tenderness, and/or pain where you got the shot; headache, tiredness, muscle aches, and joint pain. In adults 50 years of age and older the most common side effects were tenderness, and/or pain where you got the shot; headache, and tiredness.
For Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, in adults 65 years of age and older, the most common side effects were pain, redness, and/or swelling where you got the shot; muscle aches, headache, and general discomfort.
For Flublok Quadrivalent and Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, other side effects may occur.
Please see the Prescribing Information for Flublok Quadrivalent. Please see the Prescribing Information and Patient Information for Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent.
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