Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First-time analysis reveals millions of Europeans left at risk from influenza

22.11.2006
Powerful tool highlights need to implement EU recommendations for increased influenza vaccination

A powerful analysis from this month's Vaccine 1 highlights the huge gap between current vaccination coverage across Europe and the recommendations endorsed by the European Union. Currently, only one third (35%) of all high risk populations are receiving seasonal influenza vaccine in Europe, resulting in avoidable morbidity, hospitalisations and mortality.

For the first time, researchers have attempted to develop a model to enable European public health officials to visualise the need for better influenza control and implement the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations for vaccination coverage. The model highlights the consequences of low vaccine coverage, including preventable death, and demonstrates that the cost of increased vaccination could be offset by the reduced demand on healthcare services.

"This valuable model shows there is a lost opportunity in Europe right now to protect the health of people at risk across the EU. The real societal burden of influenza epidemics is often underestimated, and there is needless suffering and deaths that could be prevented by increasing the rate of vaccination to include all people at risk of influenza. Our hope is that this model will demonstrate the public health implications of influenza and focus both governments and vaccine suppliers to address the underutilization of influenza vaccines," said Dr Albert Osterhaus, Chairman of the European Scientific Working Group on Influenza (ESWI).

The gap between current influenza vaccine use and the population who could benefit has important implications for global influenza pandemic preparedness. In 2003, the World Health Assembly resolved to aim for at least 50% of the elderly population to receive annual seasonal vaccines by 2006, and 75% by 2010. In October 2006, the WHO followed this with a call to all countries preparing for a pandemic to increase use of seasonal influenza vaccines 2 to help increase vaccine production capacity in preparation for a pandemic and to reduce the likelihood of a pandemic strain developing in the first place.

"This analysis confirms around half a million people are dying unnecessarily from influenza each year and many more are needlessly put at risk. Increasing vaccination rates in Europe would accomplish two important tasks. It would dramatically reduce the number of cases of death and illness from influenza, and contribute to flu pandemic preparedness in Europe by increasing vaccine production and distribution capacity," continued Dr Osterhaus.

Influenza experts from Solvay Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with a research team at Mapi Values in the UK, took on this project in response to a World Health Assembly resolution issued in 2003 in an effort to help establish the health and economic impact of influenza vaccination within the European Union 25 Countries.

"At Solvay Pharmaceuticals we are exploring every avenue to increase vaccine capacity and are making significant investments to increase vaccine supply using pioneering cell-culture manufacturing technologies that do not rely on conventional egg based vaccine production," commented Dr Bram Palache, study author and member of Solvay Pharmaceuticals Influenza Pandemic Preparedness team.

"Production capacity for influenza vaccines is currently insufficient for pandemic preparedness. As a key player in the influenza vaccine industry we believe that pre-pandemic vaccines stockpiled may be one real way of offering adequate levels of immunity and protection to face up to the real challenges of a future influenza pandemic," concluded Dr Palache.

Research Results – Visualising The Gap

For the EU-25, it was estimated that up to a half (49.1%) of the population (223.4 million people) should be vaccinated against influenza, ranging from 56.4% in the UK to 41.6% in Cyprus.

There were on average of 174 vaccine doses distributed per 1000 population within the EU-25, which leads to an average vaccination rate of the target population of 35.4% based on current supply constraints

As a consequence up to 144.4 million people who are considered "at risk" may not be vaccinated.

Implementing a 100% vaccination rate programme for all risk groups across the EU-25 would lead to an estimated reduction of number of influenza cases of 7.22 million, 1.96 million reduced primary care physician visits for influenza treatment, 796,743 less hospital admissions and 68,537 fewer influenza related deaths for all EU-25 countries

Implementing a 100% vaccination rate programme for all risk groups in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK would require an additional 1.52 billion Euro but this would result in an estimated savings of 39.45 million Euro of reduced primary care visits and a further saving of 1.59 billion Euro in reduced hospitalisations.

"This analysis confirms that increasing vaccination rates is fully justified through a cost-benefit analysis. This model is a clear call to action for visualising our vaccination goals. I cannot stress enough the urgency of action for public health officials and governments across Europe to address this issue today and prepare for a pandemic tomorrow," concluded Dr Osterhaus.

Linda Munro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ketchum.com

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>