“The flu is a serious and unpredictable disease that causes tens of millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the US each year,” said Judy Stewart, senior vice president, U.S. Vaccines. “GSK is looking at every opportunity to produce and distribute additional flu vaccines this upcoming season to meet anticipated demand. We are working closely with public health partners to improve flu immunization rates to reduce the spread of disease and burden on the healthcare system during the ongoing public health challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine every season. In recent weeks, the CDC has repeatedly emphasized the importance of influenza vaccination this flu season to help reduce the burden of disease and the impact of influenza on the healthcare system and other critical infrastructures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GSK expects to supply more than 50 million doses of its influenza vaccines for the US market in the 2020-21 season, an increase from the 46 million it distributed during the 2019-20 influenza season. With shipments this season, GSK will cross the 1 billion doses manufactured globally milestone during the company’s history.
“Many people have fallen behind on their routine immunizations during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders with immunization rates declining for children, adolescents and adults,” said Dr. Leonard Friedland, VP, Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, GSK. “The CDC has urged individuals to maintain or reinitiate routine immunization across the lifespan to prevent illnesses that could lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalization and further strain on the healthcare system. As we head into flu season, it’s important to not only get a flu vaccine, but to prioritize getting caught up on all CDC-recommended vaccines, particularly for adults and vulnerable populations.”
Both FLULAVAL QUADRIVALENT and FLUARIX QUADRIVALENT will be available in a 0.5mL, single-dose, pre-filled syringe, and indicated for patients 6 months and older in line with CDC recommendations.
According to the CDC, annual influenza vaccination is the best available tool to help protect people 6 months and older against the flu. The CDC has estimated that flu vaccination during the 2018-19 flu season prevented approximately 4.4 million illnesses, 2.3 million medical visits and 58,000 hospitalizations associated with the flu.