2013–14 influenza vaccines are on the way

Shipments include first quadrivalents

GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, and Sanofi Pasteur have received FDA approval to begin shipping their influenza vaccines for the 2013–14 flu season.

Fluarix Quadrivalent, the first I.M. quadrivalent influenza vaccine, will be shipped to CDC distribution centers and U.S. health care providers who placed orders late last year, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced in an August 5 news release. An article describing the new quadrivalents and the other influenza vaccine choices for the 2013–14 flu season appeared on page 40 of August’s Pharmacy Today.

CDC placed the largest order for Fluarix Quadrivalent—more than 4 million doses—and will allocate those doses to U.S. state and local health care providers. Each year CDC purchases large quantities of influenza vaccines from multiple influenza manufacturers.

GSK will supplement this season’s supply of Fluarix Quadrivalent with its trivalent seasonal vaccines, Fluarix and FluLaval. GSK estimated that it will provide up to 10 million doses of quadrivalent influenza vaccines and 22 million to 24 million doses of influenza vaccines overall. The company reported that it is increasing its capability to provide substantially more quadrivalent influenza vaccine doses for upcoming influenza seasons as the health care community transitions to quadrivalent influenza vaccines.

MedImmune’s FluMist Quadrivalent, the first and only nasal spray quadrivalent flu vaccine approved by FDA, is also on the way to health care providers, according to a July 26 news release. For the 2013–14 season, FluMist Quadrivalent will replace MedImmune’s trivalent influenza vaccine, FluMist.

The first lots of Fluzone trivalent vaccine were released for shipment by FDA on July 24, Sanofi Pasteur announced in a July 25 news release. Sanofi plans to deliver more than 60 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine this fall. Direct shipments to health care providers and distributors will be ongoing through October; health care providers who placed orders will receive initial shipments by the end of August to support fall immunization campaigns.

Sanofi is still accepting orders for most of its Fluzone vaccines. Health care providers can reserve the vaccines by visiting www.vaccineshoppe.com or calling 800-VACCINE (800-822-2463).

Novartis announced that it will begin shipping a minimum of 30 million doses of both Fluvirin and Flucelvax to the U.S. market in August. The majority of doses will be of Fluvirin, the manufacturer reported. Flucelvax, its trivalent cell-based flu vaccine, will be available in limited quantities this year. Novartis plans to ramp up production of Flucelvax for the 2014–15 flu season.

Updated 8/12/13