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September 2019

Flu vaccines set to be despatched on time for current campaign

Despite the manufacturing challenges faced by the delay in the World Health Organization* (WHO) H3N2 strain announcement, vaccine manufacturer Seqirus has announced that both its NHS-recommended flu vaccines will be delivered on time.

Despatch is underway of both FLUAD® (aTIV) and FLUCELVAX® TETRA (QIVc) vaccines in time for this year’s seasonal flu campaign.

QIVc is the first cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine available in the UK. It received European regulatory approval in December 2018 and is manufactured using cell-based candidate vaccine viruses (CVV) for all four of the influenza strains recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This vaccine is currently recommended alongside egg-based quadrivalent flu vaccines (QIVe) for those 18 to 64 years in at-risk groups and alongside aTIV for those aged 65 years and older. Cell-based vaccine production enables a more rapid production process, and has allowed Seqirus to respond promptly to the delayed announcement of this season’s vaccine components.

aTIV was the only flu vaccine recommended for reimbursement by the NHS for the 65+ age group during last year’s flu season and has been recommended again for this season. However, last year deliveries had to be phased to meet demand.

‘The swift change over to aTIV for the entire 65+ population across the UK last season was a complex operation for all of us working on the front line of influenza prevention” said Helen Concilia, UK Country Head, Seqirus. ‘However, the hard work from GPs, practice nurses and practice managers was effort well placed as aTIV appears to have significantly reduced the risk of influenza and medical visits in older adults in 2018-19, as highlighted by recent Public Health England data.’

  • Final recommendations for this year’s vaccine composition were issued a month later than usual, in March. Industry bodies warned that – as it takes 6-8 months to produce and approve vaccines once candidate strains have been announced – there was likely to be a delay in delivery of supplies. Sanofi was among the manufacters warning that supply was expected to be ‘significantly weighted towards the fourth quarter’. See New flu vaccine and potential delays to start of flu campaign index.php?p1=articles&p2=1931