Market Will Be Unchanged by 48% Effectiveness of Flu Vaccine This Year

Market Will Be Unchanged by 48% Effectiveness of Flu Vaccine This Year

In horseshoes and vaccines, close counts.  Near half is a good score because that’s on top of your normal probabilities of getting various strains of the flu.  It’s a preventative, healthcare’s equal to the lifejacket or seatbelt.  On Friday, the CDC announced that this season’s flu vaccine was 48% effective.   World sales of adult vaccines exceeded $11.5 billion in 2016, up 6% from the prior year.  Kalorama thinks that level of revenue growth will continue, regardless of the determination, as orders are placed well in advance and the market tends to be stable.   Our most current report on the market is Vaccines 2016  and provides detail on this and many other markets.  

Despite the sound of the number, Kalorama Information says that 48% is fairly effective.  The worst recent vaccine season was 2014-2015,when the efficacy was 19%.   As the chart here demonstrates - revenues (in green) are unaffected by recent effectiveness vs. average.  The market is stable, and there's confidence in overall aggregate (over years) effectiveness, even when a poor year happens.   Vaccines grew 4 percent in the worst effectiveness season of 2015.  

 Unlike other vaccines, whose formulation largely remains unchanged from year to year, influenza vaccines are designed each year to address expected disease patterns. On a global basis, officials choose three flu virus strains each year for the vaccine based on the strains they expect to see in the coming season. Each season researchers try to determine how well flu vaccines work to regularly assess and confirm the value of flu vaccination as a public health intervention.  Poor selection will result in a vaccine that is unable to address current infection trends. In 2008, for example, selections were not a good match to the circulating viruses, with the result that vaccines in that year did not offer sufficient protection for many immunized persons.  Similarly, the CDC estimates that the 2014 – 2015 season flu vaccines were just 19% effective as one of the virus strains mutated.

To improve vaccine efficacy going forward, the CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) recently shared revised guidelines with public health laboratories for submitting flu viruses to CDC for testing. The revised guidelines set the recommended number of flu viruses of each type and subtype to be submitted to CDC by each laboratory, along with when and how those viruses should be submitted. This is expected to yield a more balanced and comprehensive view of antigenic, genetic, and antiviral properties of the main groups of flu viruses circulating in the U.S. In past seasons, the viruses submitted to CDC were not fully representative of the main circulating flu viruses (H1N1, H3N2, and B) as predominantly circulating viruses were over-represented among submitted samples.

 Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and CSL are among the top companies in the vaccine market

 Kalorama Information’s Vaccines 2016 contains market estimates, company profiles, trends, competitive analysis and other information about the vaccine industry.  The report is available at: