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Seasonal influenza and its prevention

Seasonal influenza is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses that circulate worldwide. It is a serious condition that can lead to severe complications such as heart attacks and strokes and has an enormous human, societal and economic impact.

Influenza is a contributing factor for five of the top 10 deaths globally (15), with 3 to 5 million severe influenza cases reported worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that influenza may be responsible for an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths per year worldwide (11, 12, 13), with a global burden of about 10 million influenza-related hospital admissions each year ( 15th).

According to a recent study, a person is 10 times more likely to have a heart attack in the week after being diagnosed with the flu and eight times more likely to have a stroke. Because the immune system deteriorates with age (immunosuppression), the risk of flu-related illness and death increases. 50-70% of hospital admissions for people over 65 years of age and 70-85% of influenza-related deaths occur in this age group 3

Those with other chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, and diabetes are at greater risk of developing flu-related complications than the general population. For example, people with heart disease are 10 times more likely to die from flu complications, diabetes triples the risk of hospitalization for flu complications and quadruples the risk of intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalization. Moreover, influenza can cause increased exacerbations in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Because age increases susceptibility to infection, the elderly are most at risk of contracting influenza and serious outcomes.

Influenza infection can contribute to functional decline, or the inability of an older person to recover to his or her previous full functional capacity once the infection has cleared. Adults over the age of 65 account for 9 out of 10 flu-related deaths and 63% of influenza-related hospitalizations.

Getting vaccinated against the flu is the most effective way to protect yourself, those around you who may be at greater risk of disease and the broader economy.

The flu vaccine is especially important for people at high risk of complications from the flu, and for people who live with or care for people who are at high risk 16

Hence, WHO recommends annual vaccination of 16:

Pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy

Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years

Elderly people with chronic diseases

Individuals suffering from chronic diseases

healthcare workers

As a country and a global community, we are facing extraordinary times as a result of COVID-19 and there is a real threat of a second wave coinciding with the upcoming flu season, which will put a huge strain on an already overstretched health system.

Sanofi Pasteur is committed to developing and manufacturing innovative influenza vaccines to protect people of all ages and health conditions. Sanofi Pasteur is the world’s largest manufacturer of innovative influenza vaccines, offering effective vaccines to protect people at every stage of life, including those over 65 years of age, high-risk groups and the general population. Sanofi Pasteur now produces more than 220 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine which represents a significant proportion of the global supply.

Sanofi Pasteur has developed the first influenza vaccine using recombination technology, an innovative micromanufacturing process that generates an exact genetic match for selected influenza virus strains.

The quadvalent influenza vaccine (QIV) is a well-established standard dose quadvalent suitable for people under 65 years of age with or without comorbidities, pregnant women, health care workers, and former COVID patients. Recombinant quadrivalent (QIVr) provides greater coverage and protection in the population at risk under the age of 65 and has demonstrated efficacy and safety as shown in large clinical trials.

Ask your doctor about a flu shot today


seasonal influenza. Available at:

Warren Gash et al. Laboratory confirmed respiratory infections as triggers for acute myocardial infarction and stroke: a self-controlled case series analysis of national linked datasets from Scotland. European Respiratory Journal 2018 51:1701794; DOI: 10.1183 / 13993003.01794-2017. Available at:

Center for Disease Control. People 65 years of age and older and influenza. Available at:

Public health matters. Flu vaccination: the most important things to know about the 2019 programme. Available at: the-2019-programme/

PCNA. Influenza is associated with serious complications for heart patients. 2020. Available at:

Allard et al. Diabetes and severity of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) infection. Diabetic care. 2010 July; 33 (7): 1491-3. doi: 10.2337/dc09-2215. Available at:

Center for Disease Control. Lung diseases, including asthma, and adult vaccination. Available at:

International Longevity Center

Center for Disease Control. Key facts about the seasonal influenza vaccine. Available at:,with%20certain%20chronic%20health%20conditions.

Dunkel et al. Efficacy of recombinant influenza vaccine in adults 50 years of age or older. Engel J Med 2017; 376: 2427-2436. Available at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu symptoms and complications. Available at: Accessed January 24, 2018

WHO fact sheet:

Lancet Respir Med 2019; 7: 69-89

PHE. Surveillance of influenza and other respiratory viruses in the UK winter 2018 to 2019. Available at: pdf

WHO: Influenza (season) accessed 09/02/2021

Seasonal influenza and its prevention

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