The big pharmaceutical companies making flu vaccines have increased their production for this year, expecting more people to get these vaccines in the upcoming flu season.
Only in the US, there are approximately 196 million dosages of flu shots made every year for the 330 million population, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. However, this year, this production will jump to 127 million more doses, which is a clear 11% increase.
One of the biggest pharmacies chains in the US, CVS which provides a non-prescription flu vaccine is now ordering18 million doses for this year. It is almost the double amount of their order in the year 2019.
All big pharma companies are working on increasing their overall production of flu shots. Seqirus a big name in these companies sis increasing its production from 52 million to 60 million (almost 15%) and Sanofi, another pharma company is increasing it from 70 to 80 million.
Michael Greenberg is the regional medical head for vaccines in North America at Sanofi said in a recent interview that flu vaccines are high in demand now, which is why they are increasing their production.
In addition to Sanofi and Seqirus, another big pharma company, GSK was also asked to respond to their vaccine production plans for this year. However, there is no response from the company yet or no information on this year’s vaccine production.
Considering that two of its biggest competitors are increasing their production, there are high chances that GSK is also working on increased production. But nothing could be said for sure unless any official information is released by the company.
Sanofi has already supplied its first batch of the flu vaccines in the market on July 22. This is three weeks before their supply timeline for 2019.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu was responsible for killing people between 24,000 and 62,000 in 2019. This year when coronavirus has already threatened the immunity, there is a dire need for a public health awareness plan for the upcoming flu season.
The use of flu shots is highest in the US and the vaccination is started from the age of six months only.
Lawrence Gostin who teaches at Georgetown University shares his concerns regarding the severity and health risks of this year’s flu season which is approaching fast. He has recently published a piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association raising new questions on mandatory vaccinations.
He says that people are not really concerned about the flu attack, they are still thinking of coronavirus. Not only in the US but other countries such as France have also shared a public warning for vaccinations which could otherwise result in complications, especially for older people.
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In 2018-2019, vaccinations were performed on more than 63% of children and nearly 45% of adults n the US. But this year, everything may change. It is hard for people to understand that despite the coronavirus is still around, getting a flu vaccine is essential.
Normally they were getting their flu vaccines from schools or workplaces but this year it may be the difference and they have to get it by themselves. Subjecting to the flu may somehow increase the risk of other respiratory diseases such as coronavirus which adds more reasons to get a flu shot on time.