People aged 65 years and over can now be offered greater protection from influenza infection for the 2018/19 season, thanks to the UK regulator approving the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV), Fluad.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) - the scientific expert committee which advises the UK Government on immunisation programmes - has stated that aTIV published studies indicated “higher vaccine immunogenicity and effectiveness for the adjuvanted vaccine in comparison with non-adjuvanted vaccines”, and could “potentially be used in the [influenza] programme from the 2018/19 season”. 

The adjuvant in Fluad has been shown to help the body’s own immune system in recognising the inactivated virus particles contained in the vaccine, which in turn, leads to a higher immune response.

GP and immunisation expert, Dr George Kassianos, said: “The burden of influenza in adults aged 65 years and over continues to be a significant and major problem, causing many thousands of hospitalisations and substantial excess mortality every winter.

“The gradual age-related decline of the body’s immune system, that is immunosenesence, means that older patients have a weaker response to existing conventional non-adjuvanted vaccines. The evidence shows that this new adjuvanted influenza vaccine boosts the immune response in adults aged 65 years and over, and thereby offers greater protection for this specific age group when compared to existing conventional non-adjuvanted influenza vaccines.”

Although Fluad has only this week been launched in the UK, it already has a long track record of use in Europe and in several other countries around the world, including Canada and the US. This has meant that there is strong randomised clinical trials evidence and also real-world evidence demonstrating that it offers greater protection in people aged 65 years and over compared to existing conventional non-adjuvanted vaccines. 

Pauline MacDonald, an Independent Consultant Nurse specialising in immunisation and former member of the JCVI, said: “This adjuvanted vaccine has a well-established safety and tolerability profile through its use in Europe and other parts of the world. Its approval in the UK offers a new effective option for healthcare professionals when making decisions about which influenza vaccines might be the most appropriate for their specific patient groups, particularly for those adults aged 65 years and older.”

Fluad is manufactured in the UK by Seqirus, the world’s 2nd largest influenza vaccine producer. Seqirus is also the only life sciences company that dedicates its entire medical and commercial expertise to the development and manufacture of influenza vaccines.