FDA Announces Vaccine Manufacturers for Upcoming Flu Season

The FDA has finalized the approvals for influenza vaccines for the 2010-2011 flu season.  The seasonal vaccine protects against the three most likely strains of influenza most likely to cause illness during the upcoming year. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that five to twenty percent of the U.S. population contracts influenza each year.  The flu leads to over 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths per year. 

The best way to protect yourself against influenza is to be vaccinated each year.  Each year, experts in the health field study the different strains and patterns of influenza and compile a report.  The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee also issues recommendations.  Based on the two sets of information, vaccine manufacturers include the three strains thought to be the most harmful in that year’s vaccine.  After careful consideration and testing, the FDA then chooses which manufacturers will make the vaccines for the upcoming season based on the match between strains in circulation, and the strains the vaccine is the most effective at preventing.

One change to vaccination recommendations this season is the update to the guidelines from the CDC for who should be vaccinated.  Previously, only the most at risk, the elderly, and the young, were recommended for vaccination.  The updated guidelines call for anyone over six months old to get the vaccination.

Vaccine manufacturers for the upcoming flu season include: Afluria, Sonofi Pasteur Inc., Agriflu, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, Fluarix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, FluLaval, FluMist, MedImmune Vaccines Inc, ID Biomedical Corporation, and Fluzone.

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