Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, announced today that its first doses of Fluzone® (Influenza Vaccine) for the 2016-2017 influenza, or flu season have been released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for shipment.
This represents the first of more than 65 million total doses of seasonal influenza vaccine manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur that will be delivered to U.S. health care providers and pharmacies beginning in July and continuing throughout the remainder of the year. Sanofi Pasteur plans to increase its supply to respond to the shifting pediatric public health needs.
Seasonal influenza activity typically occurs between October and May and peaks between December and February. However, influenza activity peaked noticeably late last season occurring in early March 2016. Influenza seasons are always unpredictable as new influenza strains emerge and strain activity fluctuates throughout the year, making timely vaccination even more important to help protect against the virus, especially for seniors, young children and infants six months of age and older.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone six months of age and older, with rare exception, and recommends receiving the vaccine as soon as it is available to help with prevention even before the season begins. In the 2015-2016 influenza season, 50 percent of seniors who were vaccinated received Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, and this number is expected to rise to 60 percent in the coming season.
“There is general awareness of influenza among the public given its widespread prevalence,” said David P. Greenberg, M.D., Associate Vice President and Regional Medical Head North America, Sanofi Pasteur. “What is not well known is that influenza can be life-threatening and have a lasting health impact, especially for the most vulnerable populations. In the 2014-2015 season, the CDC estimated 40 million flu illnesses, 19 million flu-associated medical visits and almost 1 million flu-associated hospitalizations.”