SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Sanofi Pasteur ships first lots of U.S. 2013-2014 seasonal influenza vaccine

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of global healthcare provider Sanofi, announced on Thursday that the first lots of its influenza virus vaccine for the 2013-2014 season were released and shipped for U.S. distribution.

The shipment of Fluzone is the first of more than 60 million doses of Sanofi's seasonal influenza vaccine planned for delivery to U.S. healthcare providers this fall. The vaccine will likely first be available to the public from pharmacies and healthcare providers 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," David Greenberg, the vice president of U.S. scientific and medical affairs at Sanofi Pasteur, said. "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."

The 2013-2014 influenza season will be the first in which quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available in the U.S. The vaccines will protect against two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains. Previously, seasonal influenza vaccines included just one B strain.

The company's trivalent vaccine will include two new influenza virus strains, a new A(H3N2) antigen and a new influenza B antigen. The vaccine will continue to include the A(H1N1) antigen from the 2009 pandemic.

Sanofi Pasteur has four Fluzone options, including the Fluzone vaccine, the Fluzone quadrivalent vaccine, the Fluzone high-dose vaccine and the Fluzone intradermal vaccine.

"With these influenza vaccine options, our goal is to help improve the immunization experience for patients and their health care providers, thus helping to improve immunization rates," Greenberg said. "We are pleased to offer many different influenza vaccines to meet the specific needs of every patient six months of age and older."

Approximately five to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year. Annual flu deaths in the U.S. can range from 3,000 to 49,000. Sanofi said that vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza and its complications.