Influenza News & Resources


FluWatch: Weekly Canadian Influenza Reports

FluWatch report: November 13 to November 19, 2022 (week 46)

Weekly Highlights: At the national level, influenza activity has continued to increase steeply as we enter the fourth week of  the national influenza epidemic. Most surveillance indicators are increasing, and all are above expected levels typical of this time of year. 

Virologic: In week 46, a total of 5,891 laboratory detections (5,876 influenza A and 15 influenza B) were reported. Among subtyped influenza A detections in week 46, 97% (2,213) were influenza A(H3N2) and 3% (73) were influenza A(H1N1). Among detections for which age information was reported in week 46 (3,256), 1,605 (49%) of detections were in individuals aged 0-19 years old.

FluWatch report: November 6 to November 12, 2022 (week 45)

Weekly Highlights: At the national level, influenza activity has continued to increase steeply as we enter the third week of the national influenza epidemic. All surveillance indicators are increasing and are above expected levels typical of this time of year.

Virologic: In week 45, a total of 3,909 laboratory detections (3,897 influenza A and 12 influenza B) were reported. Among subtyped influenza A detections in week 45, 97% (1,785) were influenza A(H3N2) and 3% (56) were influenza A(H1N1). Among detections for which age information was reported in week 45 (2,151), 1,215 (56%) of detections were in individuals aged 0-19 years old.

FluWatch report: October 30 to November 5, 2022 (week 44)

Weekly Highlights: At the national level, influenza activity has crossed the seasonal threshold, indicating the start of an influenza epidemic. All surveillance indicators are increasing and most are above expected levels typical of this time of year.

Virologic: In week 44, a total of 2,234 laboratory detections (2,231 influenza A and 3 influenza B) were reported. Among subtyped influenza A detections in week 44, 96% (1,149) were influenza A (H3N2) and 4% (44) were influenza A (H1N1). Among detections for which age information was reported in week 44 (1,197), 739 (64%) of detections were in individuals aged 0-19 years old.

FluWatch report: October 16, 2022 to October 29, 2022 (weeks 42-43)

Weekly Highlights: At the national level, influenza activity is increasing steeply and has crossed the seasonal threshold of 5% positivity; if percent positivity remains above this threshold next week, the start of an influenza epidemic will be declared.

Virologic: In weeks 42 to 43, a total of 1,508 laboratory detections (1,493 influenza A and 26 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 90% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season (August 28, 2022 to October 29, 2022). Among detections with detailed age information to date (August 28, 2022 to October 29, 2022), more than half (54%) were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years).

FluWatch report: October 2, 2022, to October 15, 2022 (weeks 40-41)

Weekly Highlights At the national level, influenza activity is increasing but remains at inter-seasonal levels.

Virologic In weeks 40 to 41, a total of 394 laboratory detections (380 influenza A and 14 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 77% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season (August 28, 2022 to October 15, 2022). Among detections with detailed age information to date (August 28, 2022 to October 15, 2022), 45% were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years). In weeks 40 to 41, a total of 394 laboratory detections (380 influenza A and 14 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 77% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season (August 28, 2022 to October 15, 2022). Among detections with detailed age information to date (August 28, 2022 to October 15, 2022), 45% were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years).

FluWatch report: August 28 to October 1, 2022 (weeks 35-39)

Weekly Highlights At the national level, influenza activity is low and remains at inter-seasonal levels.

Virologic In weeks 35 to 39, a total of 254 laboratory detections (235 influenza A and 19 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 93% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season (August 28, 2022 to October 1, 2022). From August 28, 2022 to October 1, 2022 (weeks 35 to 39), among detections with detailed age information, 41% were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years).

FluWatch report: July 24 to August 27, 2022 (weeks 30-34)

Weekly Highlights At the national level, influenza activity is low and remains at inter-seasonal levels. 

Virologic In weeks 30 to 34, a total of 124 laboratory detections (114 influenza A and 10 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 98% of sub-typed  influenza A detections this season (August 29, 2021 to August 27, 2022). From August 29, 2021 to August 27, 2022 (weeks 35 to 34), among detections with detailed age information, nearly half  (49%) were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years

FluWatch report: June 19 to July 23, 2022 (weeks 25-29)

Weekly Highlights At the national level, influenza activity continued to decline from a percent positivity rate of 3% in week 25 to 0.7% in week 29. The percentage of positive tests has remained below the seasonal threshold of 5% since mid-June (week 24). Despite the decline, sporadic influenza activity continues to be reported in many regions across the country.

Virologic In weeks 25 to 29, a total of 996 laboratory detections (962 influenza A and 34 influenza B) were reported. Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 99% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season to date (August 29, 2021, to July 23, 2022). From August 29, 2021, to July 23, 2022 (weeks 35 to 29), among detections with detailed age information, nearly  half (49%) were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years).

FluWatch report: June 12, 2022 to June 18, 2022 (week 24)

Weekly Highlights At the national level, influenza activity continued to decline to an influenza positivity rate of 4.8% indicating that Canada is nearing the end of its 2021-2022 late onset seasonal influenza epidemic. Despite the decline, sporadic and some limited localized influenza activity continues to be reported in most regions across the country.

Virologic In week 24, 596 laboratory detections (588 influenza A and 8 influenza B) were reported.Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 99% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season to date (August 29, 2021 to June 18, 2022). From August 29, 2021 to June 18, 2022 (weeks 35 to 24), among detections with detailed age information, nearly half (49%) were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years).

FluWatch report: June 5 to June 11, 2022 (week 23)

Weekly Highlights Influenza activity, now in the eighth week of Canada’s 2021/2022 late-onset seasonal epidemic, continues to decrease, but remains above the epidemic threshold. Influenza activity continues to be reported in most regions across the country.

Virologic In week 22, 945 laboratory detections (926 influenza A and 19 influenza B) were reported.  Influenza A(H3N2) is the dominant subtype, representing 97% of sub-typed influenza A detections this season to date (August 29, 2021, to June 11, 2022). From August 29, 2021, to June 11, 2022 (weeks 35 to 23), among detections with detailed age information, nearly half (49%) were in children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19 years

FluWatch  Public Health Agency of Canada provides updates on flu activity across the country. Subscriptions to the service are free-of-charge. Reports indicate type of Influenza virus that is circulating in all major regions of the country. Influenza and other respiratory viruses are monitored weekly and results reported every Thursday in the Respiratory Virus Detections in Canada Report. More information is available through the following link: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/influenza-surveillance.html

News

Canadian study shows flu vaccine can help prevent stroke

University of Calgary researchers have found a positive connection between the annual flu shot and preventing stroke reported Global News recently. The study, which is getting international attention, took a decade of health record data in Alberta and looked at the risk of stroke after getting vaccinated against influenza. “Across the study we did see a lower risk of stroke in that six-month time period post-influenza vaccination,” said study author Dr. Jessalyn Holodinsky. The latest research builds on existing scientific knowledge of a connection between an influenza infection and stroke. For more information: https://globalnews.ca/news/9246297/canadian-study-flu-vaccine-prevent-stroke

Ontario’s top doc weighs bad upcoming flu season in decision on mask recommendations

Global News report looks at the “triple threat” of a bad flu season, COVID-19 and the resurgence of a childhood viral illness are putting a strain on the health system, according to Ontario’s top doctor Dr. Kieran Moore. A new decision on masking recommendations is possibly coming in a couple of weeks. Dr. Moore has said that if COVID-19 starts affecting the ability to reduce the surgical backlog he would suggest the government make a recommendation on masking in certain indoor settings, and if there are further effects he would recommend reinstating mask mandates. To view the report: https://globalnews.ca/news/9244892/ontarios-top-doc-weighs-bad-upcoming-flu-season-masks/

Annual Flu shot protects you and your family

Globe and Mail article reviews the benefits of getting an annual flu shot. An interview with Dr. Vivien Brown, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto and board member of Immunize Canada, a government-funded group that promotes the understanding and use of vaccines discusses the projected flu season based on early reporting from Australia, which is typically is a good predictor of what we might expect in Canada. To review the article:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/adv/article-how-getting-the-flu-shot-can-protect-your-family-and-others/

Sanofi to build new vaccine plant

Toronto, ON - Today, Sanofi announced an investment of approximately C $ 925 million in a new vaccine manufacturing facility to be built at its current site in Toronto , Canada . The investment in such a facility will increase the antigen production and filling capacity for Sanofi's high-dose FLUZONE ® Quadrivalent influenza vaccine , thereby increasing its supply in Canada , the United States and Europe. “As a leader in vaccine manufacturing, we are constantly looking to the future to meet the growing demand for influenza vaccines that have demonstrated clinical superiority over standard dose vaccines. This new investment in the manufacture of the high-dose FLUZONE ® Quadrivalent vaccine will help ensure better protection of older people around the world against influenza and its complications. In addition, this vaccine will be a key resource to help fight future pandemics” said Paul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi." We salute the ongoing partnership with the Canadian authorities, who have provided us with their support to bring this major project to fruition which will make Canada - which has a solid heritage in vaccine research and development - one of our main centers in our efforts to protect and improve human health worldwide.  "In addition to manufacturing Sanofi's high-dose FLUZONE ® Quadrivalent influenza vaccine , this new manufacturing facility will strategically grow the biofabrication sector in Canada and build industrial-scale capacity to better prepare Canada for future pandemics.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/5fh4p9hs

Vaccine manufacturers sign agreements with the Government of Canada to supply up to 72 million doses of adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine

Ottawa, ON - Sanofi and GSK have today signed agreements with the Government of Canada for the supply of up to 72 million doses of an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, beginning in 2021. Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur, said: " Today’s announcement showcases our unwavering commitment to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that is available to everyone when it comes to market.  To address a global health crisis of this magnitude, it takes partnerships and we are grateful to Canada for their collaboration, and to GSK for partnering with us to develop a safe and effective vaccine." Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines said: "GSK is proud to be working in partnership with Sanofi to make this vaccine available as soon as possible in Canada. Both companies have significant R&D and manufacturing capability world-wide and are already working hard to scale up production. This announcement from the Government of Canada supports our ongoing efforts." Both companies have vaccine manufacturing sites in Canada that are contributing to overall global COVID-19 vaccine development, and these plus their global industrial networks will play a pivotal role in the production of the COVID-19 vaccine doses for Canada – as agreed today. The Companies initiated a Phase 1/ 2 study on 3rd September and anticipate first results in early December 2020, to support the initiation of a Phase 3 study before the end of the year.  If these data are sufficient for licensure application, it is planned to request regulatory approval in the first half of 2021. In parallel, Sanofi and GSK are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant with the target of producing up to one billion doses in total per year globally.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/y5888ct2

Flu Season Will Be a Test Run for the U.S.’s Biggest-Ever Vaccine Campaign

Denver, CO - Mobile vans, vaccine strike teams and drive-throughs will take the place of traditional tactics to get shots to the public. This fall, the U.S. will need to vaccinate huge numbers of Americans in the middle of a public-health crisis. It will also be a valuable dry run should a coronavirus shot arrive months later.The annual U.S. flu vaccine campaign has been cast into disarray by Covid-19, with people staying away from pharmacies, schools, offices, hospitals and other places where they typically get their shots. But with fears of a flu surge colliding with the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities are looking at how one vaccine effort can inform the other. In Denver, public-health officials are trying to increase the number of adults who get the flu vaccine this year to 65% from 45%. To do it, they’re setting up “strike teams” that can go from school to school giving vaccines, vans that can stop at construction sites and inoculate workers, and doing outreach to hard-to-reach communities.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/y6lxcbbj

Identifying barriers to adult influenza vaccination in Canada

Toronto, ON – Vaccination against influenza is critical to the health and functional ability of Canadian seniors as well as people with chronic disease, who are at higher risk of morbidity, mortality and prolonged recovery due to underlying frailty and changes in immune function. For these reasons, the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) is ramping up efforts to end immunization inequality in Canada and around the world.  The IFA launched a report identifying five major barriers to adult influenza vaccination in Canada:

·         Lack of a national vaccination schedule

·         Absence of consistent messaging

·         Inadequate access and availability to more effective vaccines

·         Lack of comprehensive influenza surveillance and vaccination data

·         Inequity

The focus of the report is on influenza vaccination for Canadian seniors, given the devastating and costly impact the disease has on at-risk groups.  The IFA is encouraging patient organizations, healthcare providers, families and employers to come together on the issue to place adult immunization on their agenda. To download a copy of the report click the link: > Identifying barriers to adult influenza vaccination in Canada

Study finds vaccine effectiveness reduces hospitalizations in elderly    

Atlanta, GA - Vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza; however, greater benefits could be achieved. To help guide research and policy agendas, researchers here, led by Michelle M Hughes, aimed to quantify the magnitude of influenza disease that would be prevented through targeted increases in vaccine effectiveness (VE) or vaccine coverage (VC). For 3 influenza seasons (2011–12, 2015–16, and 2017–18), researchers used a mathematical model to estimate the number of prevented influenza-associated illnesses, medically attended illnesses, and hospitalizations across 5 age groups. Compared with estimates of prevented illness during each season, given observed VE and VC, we explored the number of additional outcomes that would have been prevented from a 5% absolute increase in VE or VC or from achieving 60% VE or 70% VC. They concluded that small, attainable improvements in effectiveness or VC of the influenza vaccine could lead to substantial additional reductions in the influenza burden. Improvements in VE would have the greatest impact in reducing hospitalizations in adults aged ≥65 years, and VC improvements would have the largest benefit in reducing illnesses in adults aged 18–49 years.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/y2dkmg

Flu shot OK for cancer patients on checkpoint inhibitors

A study, reported in MedPage Today, examined incidence of immune-related adverse events after flu vaccination. For cancer patients receiving treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors for cancer, there was no increase in incidence of immune-related adverse events after receiving the flu shot, researchers found. No increase in incidence or severity of immune-related adverse events occurred in these advanced stage cancer patients, mostly with lung cancer and melanoma, within 2 months after receiving the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), reported Mini Kamboj, MD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and colleagues.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/y3wyoq6l

High-dose influenza vaccination is associated with better outcomes for older adults

Recently published study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal highlights advantages of using the high-dose flu vaccine over the standard-dose vaccination for adults aged 65 and older.

For more information: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/191/11/E313

Influenza vaccine tied to lower hospitalization rates in COPD patients

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who receive a flu vaccine are significantly less likely to be hospitalized with influenza. Patients with COPD who are hospitalized with the flu are more likely to face serious health consequences than those hospitalized for other acute respiratory infections.

For more information: https://tinyurl.com/yym9pvnz

Resources

Immunization – Questions & Answers

https://immunize.ca/questions-and-answers 

How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine: A guide for older adults

https://tinyurl.com/2epp6xbx 

Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccine: A guide for Canadian Muslims

https://tinyurl.com/2p9asc9s

Questions & answers about adult immunization

https://tinyurl.com/24mtc8h4

Educational videos pertaining to influenza and the elderly

Each year 12,200 people in Canada are hospitalized from the flu. Almost 70% of these are seniors. Watch a father and son’s journey with the flu.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk0aCusLzFo

Influenza can be serious in adults over 65. Learn about how the high-dose Influenza vaccine may be more effective in protecting older adults against Influenza and its potential complications. Learn about the high-dose flu vaccine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvRj3jSbFvU

Influenza resources from Immunize Canada

https://immunize.ca/influenza-campaign

National Institute on Ageing - Whitepaper on the burden of influenza  

https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/nia/white-papers/burden-of-influenza.pdf

International Federation On Ageing - Addressing Barriers To Adult Vaccination 

Watch the webinar recording.

Unmasking the Spanish Flu 

https://spanishflu.canadiangeographic.ca/

https://spanishflu.canadiangeographic.ca/videos/

Immunize Canada has created an Influenza Pocket Guide which specifically mentions the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s (NACI) recommendation for the high-dose flu vaccine. The pocket guide provides recommendations for choice of vaccine product for those 6 months up to 65+ as well as for certain high-risk groups. The public section includes a chart on provincial programs; a chart on publicly funded influenza vaccination programs and publicly funded season vaccines. Specific product recommendations are made for those adults 65 and older (high dose TIV). For a copy of the Influenza Pocket Guide click on the following link: https://tinyurl.com/y9ew8j27

Public Health Agency of Canada As part of the National Immunization Strategy objectives for 2016-2021, vaccination coverage goals and vaccine preventable disease reduction targets were set based on international standards and best practices. The goals and targets are consistent with Canada’s commitment to World Health Organization (WHO) disease elimination targets and Global Vaccine Action Plan, while reflecting the Canadian context. For more information: https://tinyurl.com/7csv73hn


Clinical Trials - Influenza


Effectiveness of influenza vaccination on hospitalizations and risk factors for severe outcomes in hospitalized patients with COPD
Influenza vaccination significantly reduced influenza-related hospitalization among patients with COPD. Initiatives to increase vaccination uptake and early use of antiviral agents among patients with COPD could reduce influenza-related hospitalization and critical illness and improve health-care costs in this vulnerable population.  ClinicalTrials.govNo.:NCT01517191; URL www.clinicaltrials.gov  For more information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30616737                         Published in Chest 2019; 155(1):69-78 

Supported by a restricted educational grant from Sanofi

www.sanofi.ca