Novartis Announces Beginning of Shipment of Seasonal Influenza Vaccines to US Market for '14-'15 Season
Novartis (NYSE: NVS) announced today that
it has begun shipment of its seasonal influenza vaccines to customers in the
US market for the 2014-2015 season. Novartis plans to ship a minimum of 30
million doses of vaccines (Flucelvax^® [Influenza Virus Vaccine] and
Fluvirin^® [Influenza Virus Vaccine]) to the US market in advance of the peak
of influenza season. Vaccines can be obtained at pharmacy retailers,
wholesalers and distributors across the US. Novartis is the only influenza
vaccine manufacturer to use production technologies based on cell-culture
(Flucelvax) as well as eggs (Fluvirin).
"At Novartis, we are pleased to contribute with solutions to help address this
significant health need by providing vaccines that help protect against
seasonal influenza," said Brent MacGregor, President of US Vaccines and Head
of Region North America. "Our vaccines are scheduled to be available in time
to begin use prior to the start of the influenza season."
Flucelvax, which is approved for use in adults 18 years of age and older, is
manufactured with cell-culture technology, a modern, alternative production
method for influenza vaccines to the traditional egg-based production
method^2,3. This manufacturing technology was the first major breakthrough in
influenza vaccine production in 40 years, with the potential for rapid
response to urgent public health needs, such as a pandemic, within weeks^4.
Pandemic vaccine production can be started on demand and can be escalated to
large volumes to help address influenza virus outbreak challenges^5. Flucelvax
does not contain preservatives or antibiotics^2.
"Seasonal influenza is a major public health concern that can lead to
hospitalization and even death," said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of
medicine and preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
"The CDC recommends annual seasonal influenza vaccination as the best way to
help protect against this potentially serious disease."
The CDC recommends routine seasonal influenza vaccination for all individuals
6 months of age and older^6. Flucelvax is indicated for persons 18 years and
older. Fluvirin is indicated for persons 4 years and older. According to the
CDC, high-risk groups should especially ensure that they are vaccinated,
including people younger than 5 years (and especially those younger than 2
years of age); people 65 years and older; pregnant women; and people who live
with or care for others who are at high risk of developing serious
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