Seasonal vaccine subject to tax

The U.S. Senate recently passed a bill to include the seasonal influenza vaccine as subject to the excise tax on taxable vaccines.

The bill was introduced, read and passed by the U.S. Senate on January 2. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced the bill, which amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include vaccines against seasonal influenza within the definition of taxable vaccines.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) cosponsored the bill, which was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3.

Every year, experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study influenza virus samples collected around the world. They then choose the three strains of influenza they believe will be most prevalent during the flu season and create a vaccine against them.

In February, WHO experts recommended the 2012-2013 vaccine in the Northern Hemisphere should include vaccines against two strains of influenza A, H1N1 California and H3N2 Victoria, and one strain of influenza B from the Yamagata lineage.

The H1N1 virus strain was included in last year's vaccine, but the H3N2 and influenza B strains are new for the seasonal vaccine in the Northern Hemisphere, according to the CDC.