MedImmune, the global biologics arm of AstraZeneca, announced it began shipping FluMist® to influenza vaccine distributors throughout the United States. MedImmune expects to provide approximately 13 million doses of its trivalent FluMist for the 2012-2013 influenza season through private healthcare practices, public health departments, school-located vaccination programs, military bases, retail pharmacies and other venues.
"MedImmune is committed to continuing its collaboration with providers and the public health community to immunize eligible preschool- and school-age children, adolescents and adults up to age 49 against the flu as early as possible each year," says Chris Ambrose, MD, MedImmune's senior director of medical and scientific affairs. "Vaccination with FluMist can help protect against the flu throughout the influenza season into late spring."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone aged six months and older receive the flu vaccine every year, as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Individuals should check with their healthcare provider regarding eligibility and to see when FluMist will be available in their area. Because all influenza vaccines are not approved for all ages, consult each product's prescribing information for approved age ranges.
FluMist is indicated for active immunization of eligible individuals 2-49 years of age against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. The most common side effects of FluMist are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat and fever over 100°F.
FluMist contains the three strains recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain.
FluMist is available in every state through the federally funded Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children. Additionally, FluMist is covered by approximately 99 percent of private health plans which offer immunization benefits.
FluMist Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal) was approved by the FDA on Feb. 29, 2012 and will be available for the 2013-2014 flu season.