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GSK announced today it has begun shipping FLUARIX® QUADRIVALENT (influenza vaccine) doses to U.S. healthcare providers. This is the first shipment of GSK’s U.S. flu vaccine supply for the flu season, following licensing and lot-release approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER).
GSK also has received 2014-15 U.S. license approvals for its other flu vaccine formulations: FLUARIX® (Influenza Vaccine), FLULAVAL® (Influenza Vaccine) and FLULAVAL®QUADRIVALENT (Influenza Vaccine). Pending additional FDA lot releases, GSK expects to begin shipping FluLaval Quadrivalent and FluLaval [trivalent] in early August. GSK anticipates supplying a combined total of approximately 28-33 million doses, across all four vaccines, to the U.S. for the upcoming 2014-15 flu season.
“Consumers today have more options than ever to help protect themselves against the flu,” says Deborah Waterhouse, senior vice president and business unit head of U.S. Vaccines, GSK. “Since introducing our own four-strain vaccines last year, we’ve seen a strong uptake. It’s important for consumers to discuss these options with their physicians and get early seasonal protection as the nature and severity of flu seasons can be unpredictable.”
Four-strain flu shots (quadrivalent) are designed to protect against two different types of “A” flu strains and two types of “B” flu strains, while trivalent flu shots are designed to protect against three-strains: two different types of “A” flu strains and one “B” flu strain. Each year, the World Health Organization recommends which strains will be most likely to circulate in a given season, in consultation with health partners. For more information on strains and vaccine composition for the 2014-15 flu season, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2014-15 Flu Season page.
The CDC recommends most Americans over the age of six months get a flu vaccination each year as the first and most important step in protecting against this disease. GSK’s flu vaccines are indicated for use in persons three years and older. For many vaccine recipients, more than one type of vaccine may be appropriate. The CDC does not recommend four-strain flu shots over three-strain flu shots. Consumers should speak to their physician about which flu shots may be most appropriate.
Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness, caused by flu viruses. There are two main types of flu viruses, A and B that spread between people and can cause mild to severe illness. Most flu activity in the U.S. occurs from October-May, and it usually peaks in January and February. According to the CDC, each year approximately 5 percent to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. For more information about the flu, visit www.flu.gov and www.cdc.gov/flu.