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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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Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy claim current influenza vaccines offer less protection against the infectious disease than previously thought, and better ones are necessary.

A report titled “The Compelling Need for Game-Changing Influenza Vaccines” says the U.S.-licensed trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine does not differ widely from the one first developed in 1968. And a live-attenuated influenza vaccine licensed in 2003 is made using techniques from the 1930s, Fox reports.

So why hasn’t a new flu vaccine come along? The financial risks and inadequate incentives throw up roadblocks for most biotechs that might otherwise show interest. The entire process–from preclinical research through licensure–can take up to 15 years and cost more than $1 billion, the report says. A novel flu vaccine providing protection over the course of several years will need to cost more per dose than current vaccines for investors and manufacturers to realize the financial benefit of the endeavor.

And many believe the current flu vaccines offer enough protection. “A major barrier to the development of game-changing influenza vaccines is the perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza infection,” the report says.

Currently, 6 companies are licensed to produce and distribute flu vaccines in the U.S.: CSL, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, Novartis  and Sanofi Pasteur. This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand. Each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from seasonal influenza.


More Influenza Vaccine Available as Flu Season Approaches

Posted: November 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on More Influenza Vaccine Available as Flu Season Approaches

As flu season approaches, vaccines companies are working against the odds to market their influenza vaccines. Last year, the overall U.S. vaccination rate was about 42%–a far cry from the target rates of 80% for people ages 6 months to 65 years and 90% for those older than 65.

Vaccination rates ran the gamut in the 2011-2012 influenza season. For children between 6 months and 23 months, it was 75%, while just over a third of adolescents received the jab, according to the CDC. About 39% of adults were vaccinated, Reuters reports.

This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand, the nonprofit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said. As of Sept. 14, more than 85 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed.

“When it comes to flu, we can’t look to the past to predict the future,” Howard Koh, assistant health secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.

FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from all 6 manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute in the U.S. back in August. This year’s dose includes one strain in common with last year’s and two new ones. But judging by vaccination rates from the previous flu season, the manufactuerers–CSL, GlaxosmithKline, ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur–will all be hoping for a change of pace. Factors preventing people from getting the shot include fear that they will get sick from the vaccine, cost and lack of awareness.


Flu Vaccine is Safe for Pregnant Women

Posted: October 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Flu Vaccine is Safe for Pregnant Women

A new study concludes that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women, even in the first trimester. The study consisted of nearly 9,000 pregnant women who received the vaccine. And the rate of birth defects was the same from women who got vaccinated and those who did not, Reutersreports.

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though doctors recommend that pregnant women receive a flu shot, because they are more likely than other women their age to get a severe case of the flu or have complications, most in the United Statesdo not, according to Reuters. A mere 10% to 25% of women got vaccinated each flu season over the past couple decades, said Jeanne Sheffield, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. This means there’s a market out there that flu vaccine makers are missing.

“The flu is a problem in pregnancy,”Sheffieldsaid. “But we have a vaccine to prevent it. And it’s considered safe and effective in any trimester.”

Earlier this month, the FDA approved 6 flu vaccines from companies licensed to distribute the products in the United States.