The FDA this week announced it approval of vaccines for the 2012-2013 influenza season.
This season’s vaccines are based on predictions by the FDA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for which strains of the flu virus are “likely to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season.”
Even if the strains that affect our areas don’t match what is predicted, the FDA says that the vaccine still “may reduce the severity of the illness or may help prevent influenza-related complications.”
According to the CDC, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza each year. This leads to more than 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive an annual influenza vaccine.
“The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year,” said Karen Midthun, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of the three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in last year’s vaccines.”
The official press release from the FDA can be found here.