FDA approves vaccines ahead of 2012 – 2013 influenza season
The US FDA has approved the 2012 – 2013 influenza (flu) vaccine formulation, for all six manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute the vaccines in the United States. These manufacturers include GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur.
Experts from the FDA, the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other public health experts, come together each year to study influenza virus samples and global disease patterns, in order to identify virus strains likely to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. This year’s selected strains include the H1N1-like virus, included in the 2011-2012 vaccines, along with two new strains, H3N2-like and B viruses.
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease, caused by different influenza viruses, which infect the nose, throat and lungs.
“The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year. It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of the three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in last year’s vaccines.”
Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Between 5 and 20% of the US population develops influenza each year, according to the CDC. This leads to over 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications, as influenza seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive an annual influenza vaccine.
Flu Season’s Vaccine Approved (US News)
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