New flu vaccine wins FDA approval
A new weapon in the fight against flu has won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The novel new vaccine, coined Flublok, couldn’t have come at a better time, with flu season well under way and reports of sporadic shortages of both the traditional flu vaccine and the flu treatment Tamiflu.
Researchers say the vaccine, approved for those ages 18 to 49, is very promising because it does not require the traditional method of production. That will allow the vaccine maker, Protein Sciences Corp., of Meriden, Conn., to produce the vaccine in large quantities.
Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, calls the technological advance promising. “It offers the potential for faster start-up of the vaccine manufacturing process in the event of a pandemic because it is not dependent on an egg supply or on availability of the influenza virus.”
Midthun added that while the technology is new to flu vaccine production, it has been used for making vaccines that prevent other infectious diseases.
Researchers found Flublok to be about 45 percent effective against all circulating influenza strains. The most commonly reported adverse reactions included headache, pain at the site of injection, muscle aches and fatigue— all symptoms common with conventional flu vaccines. So far, more than 128 million doses of Flublok have been distributed.
It’s still not too late to get a flu shot to help protect yourself and your family.Flu season typically peaks in January or February but can extend into May. The latest numbers from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show 47 states are still reporting widespread influenza activity, although flu cases are beginning to subside in some regions.
The CDC recommends all adults and children who are at least six months old should receive a flu vaccination each year. The best time to get vaccinated is in the fall. Get a list of Advocate Health Care clinics and locations to check for flu shot availability.
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