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Flu Vaccination Rates Disappointing

Posted: December 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Flu Vaccination Rates Disappointing

Every flu season is different. Strains evolve and influenza vaccine manufacturers alter their formulas to meet those changes, covering the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most prevalent during a given season.

But despite the wide availability of a vaccine–the U.S. FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from 6 vaccine manufacturers this year–the illness remains a killer. Between 1976 and 2007, estimates of the number of flu-associated deaths range from 3,000 to 49,000, the Centers for Disease Control reports. About 90% of those deaths happened among people ages 65 and older.  

Further, vaccination rates last year fell far below the CDC’s target rates of 80%, coming in at around 42%. About 39% of adults were vaccinated during the 2011-2012 influenza season, compared with 75% of children between the ages of 6 months and 23 months and just more than a third of adolescents.

This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand.

So, what do these less-than-stellar vaccination rates mean for sales? Looking at actual worldwide 2011 sales numbers and estimated worldwide 2012 sales numbers provided by EvaluatePharma, it seems sales as a whole are only slightly up for the top 10 best-selling flu vaccines.

Novartis will likely see the biggest jump in sales of its OptaFlu vaccine; the company reported $36 million in 2011 sales and EvaluatePharma projects $71 million in 2012 sales. Sanofi’s and Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s Fluzone (sold as Vaxigrip outside the U.S.) will likely bring a $10 million jump in sales, from $1.333 billion in 2011 to a projected $1.343 billion this year.

The outlook isn’t all promising for the top 10, though. Abbott Laboratories’ Influvac will probably see a $10 million drop, from $198 million in 2011 sales to an estimated $188 million in 2012. Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma’s BIKEN HA vaccine will also lose out, slumping by $6 million from $114 million in 2011 sales to a projected $108 million in 2012.

“The changing world demographic provides a definite opportunity for companies offering flu vaccines, as populations age and chronic conditions become more prevalent,” Moser said. “With this trend towards an older, less healthy population, demand should continue to increase for flu vaccines for the foreseeable future, with a non-specific vaccine that can protect against ever-evolving influenza strains being the holy grail in this space.”

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