US FDA approves new flu vaccine for this season

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a new vaccine for this upcoming flu-season. FluLaval will be used to immunize people 18 years of age and older against the strains of influenza virus judged likely to cause seasonal flu in 2006-2007. With this addition of FluLaval there are now five FDA-licensed vaccines for the U.S. for the upcoming season.

Director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Jesse Goodman says the challenges of vaccine supply in past flu seasons, the broadening CDC recommendations for annual vaccination, and the threat of the future avian flue pandemic, all emphasize the value of adding more manufacturers and production capacity. Goodman says we all benefit from more high quality flu vaccine manufactuerers and increased supply.

This year a record number of doses totalling about 115-million are projected to be manufactured. Shelly Yoder of the Marion County Health Department says there isn't a risk of running out of the vaccine, however they did have to cancel a few flu clinics recently because the distributor only sends a little of the vaccine at a time. She says their next shipment should be delivered Thursday, October 12.