Novartis announces that it has started shipping seasonal influenza vaccine to its U.S. customers for the 2011-2012 influenza season. Early delivery of seasonal influenza vaccine will ensure healthcare professionals have the ability to provide the earliest possible protection against influenza. Novartis plans to ship more than 30 million doses of Fluvirin® influenza virus vaccine, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults and children 4 years of age and older.
In any given season, influenza may cause thousands of influenza-associated deaths and hospitalizations. Federal health officials advise that the single best way to protect against influenza is to get vaccinated each year even if the target viruses in the 2011-2012 vaccine are the same as the year before. Immunity to influenza viruses declines over time and may be too low to provide protection after a year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine seasonal influenza vaccination for all individuals 6 months of age and older. In addition, the CDC advises that it is especially important for certain high-risk groups -- seniors, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease and healthcare workers -- as well as people who care for those at high-risk, to receive an influenza vaccine each influenza season.