SWIFTWATER, Pa., July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), announced today that the first lots of Fluzone ® (Influenza Virus Vaccine) for the 2013-2014 season have been released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for U.S. distribution and were shipped July 24. This shipment represents the first of more than 60 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine the company plans to deliver to U.S. health care providers this fall. Influenza vaccine is anticipated to be available to the public from local health care providers and pharmacies in August.
"Although influenza disease typically peaks in the U.S. during the winter, the virus can circulate at any time of year, and in fact, last year, reports of increased levels of influenza disease began in the fall," said David P. Greenberg, M.D., Vice President, U.S. Scientific and Medical Affairs. "Annual immunization of more than 130 million people in a few months is a huge undertaking for health care providers each year, and that is why as the largest producer of influenza vaccine in the U.S., our goal is to deliver a reliable supply of influenza vaccine to support health care providers in planning their fall clinics."
New for 2013-2014
For the 2013-2014 season, two new influenza virus strains have been included in the trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine. There is a new A(H3N2) antigen and a new influenza B antigen. The A(H1N1) component of the vaccine is unchanged since the 2009 pandemic. Last season, influenza A(H3N2) disease predominated in the U.S., and it was particularly severe in older adults.The 2013-2014 influenza season will be the first in which quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available in the U.S. Until this year, seasonal influenza vaccines included only one B strain. Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine includes two A strains and two B strains to help protect against influenza disease. Epidemics of influenza B occur every two to four years in all age groups. Influenza B is a common cause of influenza-related morbidity and mortality in children and has been associated with pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, nervous system disease, muscle pain and inflammation, and other complications. In recent years, up to 44 percent of influenza-associated deaths in children and adolescents 18 years of age and younger were due to influenza B.