FDA approves flu vaccines from six manufacturers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved flu vaccines from six manufacturers for the 2011–2012 flu season.

This year’s flu vaccine formulation will protect against the three virus strains that experts believe will be the most common during the 2011-2012 season, which are the same strains that circulated last season, according to

"Vaccines to prevent seasonal influenza have a long and successful track record of safety and effectiveness in the United States,” Dr. Karen Midthun, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, reports. “It is important to get vaccinated every year, even if the strains in the vaccine do not change, because the protection received the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to provide protection into the next year."

The FDA also noted that healthcare workers need to be vaccinated in order to protect themselves, their patients, families and the community, and it urged healthcare organizations to remind their members to be vaccinated according to recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, five to 20 percent of Americans develop the flu each year. Complications to the flu send 200,000 people to the hospital annually.