SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

First shipments of Fluzone vaccine released for 2014-2015 season

Vaccine supplier Sanofi Pasteur announced on Tuesday the first doses of its influenza vaccine Fluzone were released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for distribution.

The shipment represents the first of at least 65 million doses of the vaccine the French company will deliver to the U.S. in August, according to a Sanofi Pasteur press release.

"The flu impacts people in the U.S. every year, and the single best way to help prevent getting or spreading the influenza virus is timely vaccination," David P. Greenberg, the chief medical officer of Sanofi Pasteur U.S., said. "Sanofi Pasteur is committed to helping people fight the flu by offering a broad range of flu vaccine options to meet the needs of patients across multiple age groups."

The Fluzone vaccine is approved for people six months of age and older, making it the only trivalent flu vaccine licensed by the FDA for children so young.

A quadrivalent version of Fluzone, first licensed in 2013, helps to protect against two A strains and two B strains of influenza. The B strain of influenza is associated with high hospitalization and mortality rates.

Sanofi Pasteur also introduced a high-dose version of Fluzone in 2010 that can be used on adults 65 years and older, an age group that is particularly vulnerable to influenza.