12.08.2022 17:00

Public health experts underscore importance of flu vaccinations to help reduce health inequities among high-risk populations

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  • Vaccine fatigue may continue to be a barrier to the upcoming flu season
  • Black Americans are less likely to get a flu vaccine compared to white Americans, increasing risk of flu-related complications or hospitalizations1
  • People over 65 account for majority of flu-related hospitalizations and deaths2
  • Panelists from the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association and the National Minority Quality Forum joined Sanofi to discuss drivers of flu-related healthcare inequities across populations

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Aug. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid signs that a more severe influenza season is approaching in the US, a panel of public health leaders today urged that people get vaccinated in preparation for the upcoming influenza season and warned that patients in high-risk populations tend to suffer significant flu-related health disparities.3

The conversation focused on how to increase protection for people over 65 and those with weakened immune systems, including those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease. Experts also considered how inequities translate to higher rates of hospitalizations due to the flu among Black Americans and other under-represented communities.1

The virtual discussion, hosted by Sanofi with invited media in attendance, was moderated by Michael Greenberg, MD, MPH, North America Medical Head of Vaccines at Sanofi.

Michael Greenberg, MD, MPH
North America Medical Head of Vaccines at Sanofi
"We have the tools to help reduce the burden of disease in populations most severely affected by flu, especially among those over age 65. By partnering with organizations and healthcare providers, we can combat complacency among those who may be fatigued by vaccine news, and who may not understand the severe complications of a flu infection that vaccines can help prevent. As a leader in flu vaccines, Sanofi aims to help protect high-risk populations from flu and its related complications. We have a responsibility to help prevent as much flu as possible through vaccination."

Experts anticipate a rise in flu cases in the Northern Hemisphere this flu season compared with last year based on the steep rise in cases in the Southern Hemisphere this season.4 Today's panel, composed of chief medical officers of the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, the American Lung Association and the President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, provided insights on the impact of flu in light of a decline in vaccination rates during the 2021-2022 flu season.

Gary A. Puckrein, PhD
President & CEO, National Minority Quality Forum 
"The economic and health burden of vaccine-preventable influenza on communities of color is clear and access to effective vaccines is essential. The level of disparity in vaccine uptake, particularly among patients of color, points to structural deficits systematically hampering access to influenza vaccination.5"

Age can be a factor when it comes to flu-related complications and flu vaccinations can help reduce the burden of disease.6 In a study of influenza vaccine effectiveness in 3,135 adults over 18 during 2012-2015, of adults hospitalized as a result of the flu, vaccinated patients were 59% less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit than those who had not been vaccinated.7 Importantly, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an advisory body to the CDC, has recognized that certain flu vaccines are potentially more effective for people over 65.8

Comorbidities present the risk for added complications, according to the experts. Among adults hospitalized with influenza during recent flu seasons, about half had heart disease.9 In recent seasons, about 30% of adult flu hospitalizations had diabetes and during the 2021-22 flu season, 30.6% of flu-related hospitalizations were among adults with chronic lung disease.10,11

Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, FAHA, FAAFP
Chief Medical Officer for Prevention, American Heart Association 
"Hands down, your best protection from the flu this year comes from the flu shot, which is proven to be practical and cost-effective. Virtually everyone can benefit from the flu shot and that's especially true for people with heart disease and seniors who are more likely to be hospitalized with flu and flu-related complications.2,9 If you're over 65, you should ask about getting the specific flu vaccines this year which may potentially be more effective."

Robert Gabbay, MD
Chief Science & Medical Officer, American Diabetes Association 
"People with diabetes are at high risk of serious flu complications, even when well-managed, which can result in flu-related hospitalization and sometimes even flu-related death.10 Preventing flu and its serious complications should be a global public health priority and we aim to encourage vaccinations as we approach the upcoming flu season."

Albert Rizzo, MD
Chief Medical Officer, American Lung Association 
"While anyone can get the flu, certain people are at increased risk for developing serious flu complications such as those living with chronic medical conditions including asthma, COPD and other chronic lung diseases.3 The flu can be deadly, which is why we urge all eligible people six months or older to get the flu shot annually."

Participating organizations did not receive compensation for this discussion. The above quotes were adapted from each speaker's prepared remarks.

About Sanofi 
We are an innovative global healthcare company, driven by one purpose: we chase the miracles of science to improve people's lives. Our team, across some 100 countries, is dedicated to transforming the practice of medicine by working to turn the impossible into the possible. We provide potentially life-changing treatment options and life-saving vaccine protection to millions of people globally, while putting sustainability and social responsibility at the center of our ambitions.
Sanofi is listed on EURONEXT: SAN and NASDAQ: SNY

Media Relations
Evan Berland | + 1 215 432 0234 | evan.berland@sanofi.com
Kate Conway | + 1 617 981 2738 | kate.conway@sanofi.com

Sanofi Investor Relations
Eva Schaefer-Jansen | + 33 7 86 80 56 39 | eva.schaefer-jansen@sanofi.com 
Arnaud Delépine | + 33 6 73 69 36 93 | arnaud.delepine@sanofi.com
Corentine Driancourt | + 33 6 40 56 92 21 | corentine.driancourt@sanofi.com  
Felix Lauscher | + 1 908 612 7239 | felix.lauscher@sanofi.com
Priya Nanduri | +1 617 764 6418 | priya.nanduri@sanofi.com   
Nathalie Pham | + 33 7 85 93 30 17 | nathalie.pham@sanofi.com

Sanofi Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations, services, product development and potential, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "plans" and similar expressions. Although Sanofi's management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Sanofi, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labelling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such product candidates, the fact that product candidates if approved may not be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives, Sanofi's ability to benefit from external growth opportunities, to complete related transactions and/or obtain regulatory clearances, risks associated with intellectual property and any related pending or future litigation and the  ultimate outcome of such litigation,  trends in exchange rates and prevailing interest rates, volatile economic and market conditions, cost containment initiatives and subsequent changes thereto, and the impact that COVID-19 will have on us, our customers, suppliers, vendors, and other business partners, and the financial condition of any one of them, as well as on our employees and on the global economy as a whole.  Any material effect of COVID-19 on any of the foregoing could also adversely impact us. This situation is changing rapidly and additional impacts may arise of which we are not currently aware and may exacerbate other previously identified risks. The risks and uncertainties also include the uncertainties discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by Sanofi, including those listed under "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in Sanofi's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2021. Other than as required by applicable law, Sanofi does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements. 

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/disparities-racial-ethnic-minority-groups.html. Accessed July 27, 2022.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu & People 65 Years and Older. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/65over.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People at Higher Risk for Flu Complications. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
4 Australian Government Department of Health. Australian Influenza Surveillance Report - 2022 Influenza Season in Australia. Available at: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-surveil-ozflu-flucurr.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/disparities-racial-ethnic-minority-groups.html. Accessed July 2022.
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Key Facts About Seasonal Flu. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
7 Thompson MG, Pierse N, Sue Huang Q, et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness in preventing influenza-associated intensive care admissions and attenuating severe disease among adults in New Zealand 2012-2015. Vaccine. 2018;36(39):5916-5925.
8 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP Flu Meeting Update: Flu Vaccines Worked Better than Reported & ACIP Recommends Specific Vaccines for Seniors. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/2021-2022/specific-vaccines-seniors.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022. 
9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu and People with Heart Disease or History of Stroke. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/heartdisease.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu and People with Diabetes. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/diabetes.htm. Accessed July 27, 2022.
11 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FluView Interactive. Laboratory-Confirmed Influenza Hospitalizations. Available at: https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/FluHospChars.html. Accessed July 12, 2022.

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/public-health-experts-underscore-importance-of-flu-vaccinations-to-help-reduce-health-inequities-among-high-risk-populations-301605030.html

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