FluMist vaccine begins shipping

Shipments of FluMist have begun to influenza vaccine distributors servicing healthcare providers nationwide today, MedImmune has announced.

Approximately 15 million doses of MedImmune's trivalent nasal spray are expected to be provided for this year's influenza season, the company said.

"MedImmune is committed to supporting public health efforts to initiate seasonal influenza vaccination as early as possible each year, greatly widening the window of opportunity for vaccination," Alex Zukiwski, MD, MedImmune's executive vice president for clinical research and chief medical officer, said. "The public can be reassured that influenza vaccination with FluMist in the late summer helps protect against influenza throughout the influenza season, even into the late spring."

The vaccine for this season's influenza will include the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain. Additionally, a June 2010 recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that children under nine years of age who did not receive at least one dose of H1N1 vaccine last year be given two doses of the trivalent seasonal vaccine this year.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which consists of a panel of immunization experts who advise the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, expanded its recommendations earlier this year for annual influenza vaccination. The new recommendations include all people over the age of six months.

Flu vaccine, the CDC recommends, should be administered to eligible recipients each year as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

Starting influenza vaccination in August and September, MedImmune says, may aid in reaching an additional 10.5 million children at already-scheduled healthcare provider visits.