Immunization week: experts discuss past and future of modern vaccines at a conference in Kazakhstan

Almaty welcomed the International Research and Practice Conference dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the expanded immunization program in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Healthcare professionals from several countries shared their experience and latest research related to vaccine-preventable diseases.

Mikhail Petrovich Kostinov, Corresponding Member of the RAS, Dr. habil. med., Professor, Head of the Laboratory for Allergic Disease Prevention and Immunotherapy, I. Mechnikov NIIVS, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Modern Vaccination Technologies, IPO FSAEI HE I.M. Sechenov First MSMU MOH Russia, reported on specific and non-specific effects of influenza vaccines.

According to him, the relevance and danger of influenza are underestimated. Together with the ARVI (acute respiratory viral infections), it is the most prevalent infectious disease globally. Every year more than 500 million people worldwide are infected with the flu, 3–5 million of them get severely ill and up to 645,000 people a year die from influenza and its complications[1].

The incidence of the flu in children is 3-4 times higher than in adults: 20–30% in children versus 5–10% in adults[2]. Children are also important disease vectors, influencing its incidence, including the elderly (65+) and people from other risk groups (with underlying diseases)[3]. Meanwhile, the influenza-associated hospitalization rate is several times higher among patients from risk groups[4].

Dr. Kostinov presented the latest data on how effective the vaccination in different age groups is. For instance, between 2022 and 2023 in England, the vaccination led to a 28% reduction in hospitalizations among the elderly and by 35% in the USA over the same period in the same age group[5]. Moreover, influenza vaccination showed a clear positive effect on COVID-19 outcomes: hospitalization rate, ventilation, intensive care and duration of the disease. Among flu vaccinated people, all of these indicators were significantly lower than in unvaccinated patients[6].

The meta-analysis exploring the correlation between flu vaccination and the risk and severity of COVID-19 has clearly revealed that quadrivalent vaccines used for flu prevention can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by 26%, and the adjuvant in the vaccine creates a more pronounced cellular immunity compared to other vaccines[7].

Professor Kostinov shared post-vaccination data involving Grippol® Quadrivalent adjuvant vaccine among adults in the years 2022–2023 to reveal that those unvaccinated against the flu contracted acute respiratory infections 2.5 times more frequently. The transition to quadrivalent vaccines against the flu is included in the action plan developed to implement the Strategy for the Development of Immunization against Infectious Diseases until 2035 as part of the national immunization schedule[8].






6 Conlon A. et all. Am J Infect Control. 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2021.02.012

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