CDC: Plenty of flu vaccine to go around

You know flu season's coming up when the media starts chanting about flu vaccines and flu remedies. So break out the tissue and fluids, because three big flu stories hit the news today.

  • First, good news for soft-hearted parents of toddlers and for MedImmune, the maker of FluMist. The FDA approved the no-needle vaccine for use in kids as young as 2; previously, it could only be used in children 5 years and older. Cited by the FDA in spring for manufacturing problems, MedImmune recently announced that it had ironed out those wrinkles and was ready for the season.
  • Second, the CDC announced that flu vaccine is in plentiful supply this year. Some 132 million doses are expected to ship this year, about 10 million more than last year. This is big news after a couple of years of shortages that left many patients without their flu shots.
  • Finally, Roche got the E.U.'s OK for kiddie-sized capsules of its antiviral Tamiflu. Until now, the drug was available only in 75 mg capsules, too much for young kids. Only a powder for oral suspension was marketed for use in children, and that formula doesn't have the extended shelf life of capsules. This is important since governments have been stockpiling Tamiflu in preparation for a potential flu pandemic.

- see Roche's press release on Tamiflu
- check out MedImmune's release about FluMist
- read the Kansas City Star article on vaccine supplies