Four ways pandemic preparedness improves efforts to prevent seasonal influenza



Healthcare providers and public health officials know the importance of getting annual vaccines to protect against the influenza virus strains commonly circulating. What people don't always think about is that work on pandemic influenza preparedness improves seasonal vaccine quality and availability, too.

1. Newer vaccine technology for more and better options

Prior to 2010, all licensed influenza vaccines were produced in eggs. BARDA experts worked with the private sector to support licensure of non-egg-based influenza vaccines that provide more options to protect against influenza. These include development and licensure of an adjuvanted, cell-based pre-pandemic influenza vaccine and development and licensure of a recombinant protein-based influenza vaccine.

This year, CDC recommends that people over age 65 receive adjuvanted or high-dose vaccines if available because these were proven to be more effective. These vaccines are available as egg-based and recombinant products, and their development was made possible by investments in influenza pandemic preparedness.

2. Increased U.S.-based manufacturing capacity

As part of pandemic influenza preparedness, BARDA and private sector partners collaborated to build out manufacturing capacity for pandemic influenza vaccines. The U.S. sustains much of the pandemic response capacity with funds appropriated yearly, and many of these efforts have resulted in increased manufacturing capacity for seasonal influenza vaccines.

This increased manufacturing capacity enabled the development, licensure, and annual availability of new vaccine formulations, including quadrivalent vaccines and 'high-dose' vaccines. Plus, lessons learned about manufacturing for pandemic vaccines can be applied to seasonal vaccine manufacturing.

3. Influenza and COVID-19 vaccine co-administration studies

Early during the COVID-19 response, BARDA worked with vaccine manufacturers to support a clinical trial on giving influenza and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. The study showed the approach was safe and provided the same protection as these vaccines given two weeks apart.

4. More informative testing

For pandemic preparedness, BARDA has supported development of diagnostic tests that distinguish between different influenza viruses, as well as between influenza and other respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and RSV. The sooner an infection is diagnosed, the faster doctors and their patients can make decisions about antiviral treatment.

While we remain committed to preparing our country for the next pandemic - whether from influenza or a different emerging infectious disease - we encourage everyone to get a seasonal influenza vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Vaccines reduce the rate and severity of infection which helps protect not only the person who gets vaccinated but also the people around that person.​


Public Health Preparedness; Response and Recovery




Robert Johnson, PhD, Director, ASPR/BARDA Medical Countermeasures Program

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Version: 2.0
Created at 12/5/2022 10:15 AM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON
Last modified at 12/5/2022 10:16 AM by KIMBERLY BUCKMON