GSK announced Tuesday it is already shipping its guadrivalent influenza vaccines to U.S. health care providers and pharmacies.
"The flu is a serious and unpredictable disease that causes tens of millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and tens of thousands of deaths in the US each year," said Judy Stewart, Senior Vice President, US Vaccines. "GSK is looking at every opportunity to produce and distribute additional flu vaccines this upcoming season to meet anticipated demand. We are working closely with public health partners to improve flu immunization rates to reduce the spread of disease and burden on the healthcare system during the ongoing public health challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone older than 6 months of age get a flu vaccine each season.
The CDC says the vaccine for the upcoming flu season is especially important to help reduce the impact of the flu on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Many people have fallen behind on their routine immunizations during the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders with immunization rates declining for children, adolescents and adults," said Dr. Leonard Friedland, VP, Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Health, Vaccines, GSK. "The CDC has urged individuals to maintain or reinitiate routine immunization across the lifespan to prevent illnesses that could lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalization and further strain on the healthcare system. As we head into flu season, it's important to not only get a flu vaccine, but to prioritize getting caught up on all CDC-recommended vaccines, particularly for adults and vulnerable populations."
The CDC has estimated that flu vaccination during the 2018-19 flu season prevented approximately 4.4 million illnesses, 2.3 million medical visits and 58,000 hospitalizations associated with the flu.
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