New influenza B strain
In accordance with EMA/WHO guidelines for the 2014/15 season, the vaccines contain the following strains:
- A/California/7/2009 as the H1N1-like component (as last season)
- A/Texas/50/2012 as the H3N2-like component
- B/Massachusetts/2/2012 as the influenza B component.
Two tetravalent vaccines
Two tetravalent vaccines are also available this year: Fluenz Tetra (AstraZeneca) and Fluarix Tetra (GSK), which contain the additional influenza B strain B/Brisbane/60/2008. Care must be taken not to confuse these vaccines as Fluenz Tetra is a live attenuated intranasal spray indicated for use only in children and adolescents, and Fluarix Tetra is an inactivated intramuscular preparation that is not approved for use in children under 3 years.
Childhood flu vaccine programme continues
Fluenz Tetra replaces Fluenz on the routine childhood vaccination schedule, which has been extended this year to include all children aged 2 to 4 years.