Flu vaccines released for 2012/2013 season

Vaccines for the current flu season are now available.

The JCVI has advised that where a flu vaccine dose of either 0.25ml or 0.5ml is recommended in children, those aged six months or older should be given the 0.5ml dose. | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The vaccines are: Enzira (Pfizer), Fluarix (GlaxoSmithKline), Fluvirin (Novartis), Imuvac and Influvac (Abbott), Inactivated Influenza Vaccine BP and Intanza (Sanofi-Pasteur MSD), and the live-attenuated intranasal preparation Fluenz (AstraZeneca), for use only in children and adolescents.

Agrippal and Optaflu (Novartis), Inflexal V and Viroflu (Janssen-Cilag) are expected to be available later in October.

The cell-culture-derived vaccine, Preflucel, is no longer available.

New strains

In line with EMA/WHO recommendations for the 2012/2013 season, the vaccines contain the same H1N1-like virus strain as last season (A/California/7/2009), with two new strains:

•    A/Victoria/361/2011 as the H3N2-like component
•    B/Wisconsin/1/2010 as the influenza B component.

Further information: Green Book – Chapter 19: Influenza

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Updated 1 November 2012

Prescribing information for egg-free vaccine released

Novartis has released 2012/2013 prescribing information for its flu vaccines Agrippal and Optaflu, but reports that both preparations are currently out of stock.

Optaflu is produced by cell culture rather than egg-based methods, making it suitable for individuals who are hypersensitive to egg or chicken proteins. It is licensed for use only in adults. As no other egg-free vaccine is currently available, the Department of Heath advises that patients with uncontrolled asthma who have confirmed anaphylaxis to egg or egg allergy should be referred to a specialist for vaccination in hospital.

Inflexal V and Viroflu are also unavailable as manufacturer Crucell has halted deliveries in order to investigate two batches on patient safety grounds. Prescribing information has not yet been released.

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