MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Novartis begins shipping 2014-2015 seasonal influenza vaccines

Novartis announced on Wednesday that it began shipment in the U.S. market of its influenza vaccines for the 2014-2015 season.

The company plans to deliver at least 30 million doses of Flucelvax and Fluvirin in advance of the peak of the influenza season later this year.

"At Novartis, we are pleased to contribute with solutions to help address this significant health need by providing vaccines that help protect against seasonal influenza," Brent MacGregor, the president of U.S. Vaccines and head of Region North America at Novartis, said. "Our vaccines are scheduled to be available in time to begin use prior to the start of the influenza season."

Flucelvax is produced using cell cultures, while Fluvirin is an egg-based vaccine. Novartis is the only manufacturer that uses both methods of vaccine production.

Both Flucelvax and Fluvirin contain antigens that target three influenza strains the World Health Organization said are likely to dominate circulation this winter. Side effects of both vaccines include headache, fatigue and reactions near the site of injection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine seasonal influenza vaccination for individuals older than six months of age. Flucelvax is recommended for people 18 years and older. Fluvirin is safe for those four years and older.

Influenza seasons can be unpredictable, beginning as early as October with substantial activity occurring as late as May.