Six drug makers OKed to produce flu vaccines

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new influenza vaccine formulation for the 2011-2012 flu season, the agency said Monday.

The FDA said six manufacturers are licensed to produce vaccines. These include GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, manufacturing Fluarix; CSL Limited, manufacturing Afluria; ID Biomedical, manufacturing FluLaval; MedImmune Vaccines, manufacturing FluMist; Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, manufacturing Fluvirin; and Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturing Fluzone.

“Vaccines to prevent seasonal influenza have a long and successful track record of safety and effectiveness in the United States,” FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research director Karen Midthun said. “It is important to get vaccinated every year, even if the strains in the vaccine do not change because the protection received the previous year will diminish over time and may be too low to provide protection into the next year.”