The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the 2012-13 influenza vaccine formulation for all the six manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute the vaccines in the U.S.
The experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other health experts study influenza virus samples and the global disease patterns to identify virus strains likely to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season.
The strains selected to be included in the 2012-13 flu vaccines are A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) like virus, A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2) like virus and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus. These virus strains have been selected based on the information and the recommendations of the FDA’s vaccines and related biological products advisory committee.
The H1N1 virus is the same as what was included in the 2011-12 influenza vaccines and this year’s influenza H3N2 and B virus differs from those in the 2011-12 influenza vaccines.
The seasonal vaccines will provide protection against three influenza virus strains.
Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said, “The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year.” He also said, “It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in the last year’s vaccines.”
In U.S., between 5%-20% population suffers from influenza. This leads to hospitalization and as the influenza seasons are unpredictable. They can be severe with annual influenza-related deaths ranging from a low of about 3,000 to a high of 49,000 people. Thus, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, recommends that everyone in six months of age and older receive an annual influenza vaccine.
Influenza is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family orthomyxoviridae that affects mammals and birds. The symptoms for the cause of this disease are fever, chill, muscle pains, coughing and general discomfort.