GSK Shipping 40 Million Flu Shots to the USA
GSK announced it has begun shipping its quadrivalent influenza vaccines to US healthcare providers and pharmacies for the 2019-20 flu season, immediately following licensing and lot-release approval from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
GSK said in a press release on July 15, 2019, that it expects to supply more than 40 million total influenza vaccine doses for the US market in the 2019-20 flu season.
Judy Stewart, Senior Vice President, US Vaccines, said: “To simplify vaccine storage and procurement and to help healthcare professionals realize every appropriate vaccination opportunity, GSK offers 2 influenza vaccines with the same vaccine dose for all recommended patients.”
- Flulaval Quadrivalent will be available in a 5mL, multidose vial containing 10 doses (0.5mL each) and a 0.5mL, single-dose, prefilled syringe.
- Fluarix Quadrivalent will be available in a 0.5mL, single-dose, prefilled syringe.
“The 2018-19 flu season was the longest flu season the US has experienced in a decade,” said Dr. Leonard Friedland, VP, Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, North America.
“This is an important reminder that the influenza virus is a serious and unpredictable disease and annual vaccination is the best way to help prevent flu illnesses and flu-related hospitalizations and reduce the severity of the disease.”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), annual influenza vaccination is the best available tool to help protect people 6 months and older against the flu.
The CDC has estimated that flu vaccination during the 2017-18 flu season prevented approximately 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits and 109,000 hospitalizations associated with flu.
For the 2019-20 flu season, the World Health Organization (WHO) and FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended including the A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus, A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus, B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus, with the addition of B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus for the quadrivalent vaccine.
“It is about time for the influenza viruses to become prevalent again. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks after vaccination for immunity to develop,” reminds Anh Le, Pharm D Candidate, Intern for Brookshires Grocery Company.
“So, get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available! This will help to prevent the virus from spreading by providing protection. The influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone from 6 months of age and older. Stop by your pharmacy or doctor office for more information,” said Le.
Influenza viruses circulate year-round around the world, however, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February in the USA.
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If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs may be a treatment option, says the CDC.
When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.
For people at high risk of serious flu complications, treatment with antiviral drugs can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay.
The CDC recommends prompt treatment for people who have influenza infection or suspected influenza infection and who are at high risk of serious flu complications.
In the USA, most pharmacies offer antiviral flu medicines and various influenza vaccines.
To help those without access to insurance programs, financial assistance programs can be found at Vaccine Discounts.