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EU Flu Day 2021 – Seqirus joins experts’ calls to boost vaccine uptake ahead of a second influenza season during the COVID-19 pandemic

• Expert modelling points to a more severe influenza season than in previous years.1
• The lifting of restrictions to reduce COVID-19 transmission may leave vulnerable people – with reduced immunity - at greater risk from influenza.1
• Co-administration of the seasonal influenza vaccine with the COVID-19 booster may not only protect vulnerable populations, it could also relieve the burden on healthcare systems.
• A panel of leading international experts discuss the challenges of the oncoming influenza season at this year’s EU Flu Day, led by Vaccines Europe and supported by Seqirus.

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Today global experts are set to discuss the unique challenges of the upcoming influenza season which has the potential to be more burdensome on Europe’s population and healthcare systems. 

Experts anticipate the concurrent circulation of both influenza and COVID-19 to pose a greater risk to vulnerable populations as people with both diseases may be close to twice as likely to die than those who have COVID-19 alone.2 

Furthermore, lockdowns to reduce COVID-19 transmission have meant fewer people have been exposed to influenza in the 2020 to 2021 season. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected.1 Influenza vaccination is more important than ever to protect vulnerable people and prevent health systems from becoming overburdened.

Dolors Montserrat, MEP, said “As we enter our second year of flu and COVID circulating together, we can predict a notable strain on health resources across Europe. It is therefore critical that nations across Europe take advantage of influenza vaccination to protect their at-risk populations and prevent health services from becoming overwhelmed by increased demand.”

Seqirus is one of the largest influenza vaccine manufacturers in the world and maintains a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines to supply countries across Europe.  Tracing its vaccine history back to vaccinating against the 1918 influenza pandemic which claimed 50 million lives, Seqirus is a key supporter of EU Flu Day. 

Today’s debate, co-ordinated by MEP Dolors Montserrat, former Spanish health minister, will highlight the importance of influenza vaccination against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The upcoming flu season therefore has the potential to be more severe and it is a matter of urgency that at-risk groups are vaccinated,” said Beverly Taylor, Head of Influenza Scientific Affairs, WHO and IFPMA Lead at Seqirus. “To maximise protection for priority groups, it will be critical to plan and deliver vaccination programs in a way which ensures convenient access and timely delivery of flu vaccines. This includes ongoing developments in the co-administration of seasonal influenza with COVID-19 vaccines,” 

The panel will also explore the need to ensure adequate training of health workers to drive influenza vaccine uptake across Europe, as well as the importance of effective public communication campaigns aimed at priority groups that address the unique challenges associated with COVID-19. It is critical to help at-risk populations understand that influenza vaccines are considered safe, effective, and the principal measure for preventing influenza.

About EU Flu Day 
The event is organised by the EU steering group on influenza vaccination and is supported by Vaccines Europe a specialised vaccines group within the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (IFPMA). It is also supported by the Active Citizenship Network, the European Forum for Primary Care, the European Scientific Working group on Influenza, European Specialist Nurses Organisation, International Longevity Centre UK, the World Association for Infectious Diseases and Immunological Disorders and the World Medical Association.

About Seqirus 
Seqirus is part of CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, Seqirus is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. With state-of-the-art production facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, and leading R&D capabilities, Seqirus utilizes egg, cell and adjuvant technologies to offer a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.

About CSL 
CSL (ASX:CSL) is a leading global biotechnology company with a dynamic portfolio of life-saving medicines, including those that treat hemophilia and immune deficiencies, as well as vaccines to prevent influenza. Since our start in 1916, we have been driven by our promise to save lives using the latest technologies. Today, CSL — including our two businesses, CSL Behring and Seqirus - provides life- saving products to more than 100 countries and employs more than 27,000 people. Our unique combination of commercial strength, R&D focus and operational excellence enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest. For more information about CSL Limited, visit www.csl.com.

For more information visit www.seqirus.com and www.csl.com.

MEDIA CONTACT 

EMMANUELLA DEKONOR 
+44 (0) 7920500496 
Emmanuella.Dekonor@seqirus.com 

REFERENCES

JCVI interim advice: potential COVID-19 booster vaccine programme winter 2021 to 2022; available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jcvi-interim-advice-on-a-potential-coronavirus-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-for-winter-2021-to-2022/jcvi-interim-advice-potential-covid-19-booster-vaccine-programme-winter-2021-to-2022[accessed 09/09/2021]

Stowe J, Tessier E, Zhao H, et al. 2021. Interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza, and the impact of coinfection on disease severity: a test-negative design. Int J Epidemiol 10.1093/ije/dyab081