Seasonal influenza vaccines approved

Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced last week that they have approved vaccines for the 2010-2011 influenza season.

Approximately five to 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza annually, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. This results in 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications and about 36,000 deaths.

“The best way to protect yourself and your family against influenza is to get vaccinated every year,” Karen Midthun, acting director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said. “The availability of a new seasonal influenza vaccine each year is an important tool in the prevention of influenza related illnesses and death.”

Midthum also said that the administration of influenza vaccination to health care personnel is vitally important. The FDA urges health care organizations to encourage their members to get vaccinated.

The brand names and manufacturers for the upcoming season’s vaccines include Afluria from CSL Limited; Agriflu from Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics; Fluarix from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; FluLaval from ID Biomedical Corporation; FluMist from MedImmune Vaccines Inc.; Fluvirin from Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited; and Fluzone and Fluzone High-Dose from Sanofi Pasteur Inc.

Vaccines for the 2010-2011 seasonal influenza contain strains from the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus, A/Perth /16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.