The expanded approval now includes persons aged 6-59 months; the quadrivalent vaccine had previously been approved for ages 5 years and up. A trivalent version of the Afluria influenza vaccine also now is indicated for people aged 6 months and up, according to an Oct. 4 communication from the FDA.
A total of 172 pediatric influenza-related deaths occurred in the United States, representing a new high in nonpandemic influenza seasons. About half of the pediatric influenza deaths occurred in otherwise healthy children, and about 22% of children who died were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reporting U.S. data from 2010 to 2016.
“As we enter a new flu season, we are reminded of the enormous impact that influenza can have on public health,” Seqirus’ vice president of medical affairs Gregg Sylvester, MD, said in a press release announcing the extended indication. “Having another option to fight this disease can translate to saved lives and fewer flu-related hospitalizations this season and going forward.”
According to the CDC, the 2018-2019 influenza vaccine has been updated to provide a better match – and more protection against – viruses circulating in this influenza season. Specifically, says the CDC, the influenza B Victoria lineage and the influenza A(H3N2) components were updated.
In addition to providing protection against these two strains of influenza, trivalent vaccines for the 2018-2019 season are recommended to include protection against H1N1 influenza as well. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against a second influenza B lineage.
Most people will receive a quadrivalent vaccine this year, according to the CDC.