Consumers could be baffled by number of flu shot options this year

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Thanks to some impressive developments in the influenza vaccine field, consumers will be presented with several new options when it comes to getting their flu shot this year.

This table highlights the options available for the 2013-2014 influenza season in the US – and lists rather more than the same table for the 2012-2013 season. There are a number of notable additions, including quadrivalent vaccines such as GlaxoSmithKline's Fluarix (IIV4), MedImmune's FluMist (LAIV4) and Sanofi Pasteur's Fluzone (IIV4). Consumers with egg allergies will also be catered for, as Protein Sciences Corp's Flublok (RIV3) and Novartis' Flucelvax (ccIIV3) are manufactured without eggs. These options are also available alongside Fluzone High-Dose for the elderly and Fluzone Intradermal for the needle-phobic, both from Sanofi Pasteur – not to mention the original selection of trivalent flu vaccines from last year.

But the number of options could prove confusing to patients and healthcare providers alike.

“I think what’s really going to be confusing to patients and to doctors and nurses is that we’ll have seven different choices this year. We’re used to the flu shot, we’re used to the nasal spray, and that’s all we’ve had, forever,” says Dr. Gregory Poland, head of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group.

Aside from the potential confusion, however, the number of options highlights the growing role of personalized vaccines. "It really is ushering in a new era of individualized, or personalized, medicine,” Dr. Poland says. “Instead of ‘one size fits all,’ this is a very real example of the incredible advances happening in medicine, where there’s not one choice for everybody, there’s a best choice for each individual, and that’s what’s happening with flu vaccines.”

Dr Poland recently spoke at the World Vaccine Congress and Expo USA 2013. Read about the game-changing R&D breakthroughs discussed on Day Two of the conference.

READ MORE ABOUT: 3 Exciting Uses of Data for the Future of Vaccine Development

What do you think? Do you think patients and healthcare providers will be confused by the number of options available? Leave a comment in the box below, or on our LinkedIn group discussion. Sign up to the Vaccine Nation newsletter for more insights into strategy and innovation in vaccines.

If you want to know more about vaccines, and meet innovators, disruptors and influencers from across the vaccine research, development and technology landscape, attend the World Vaccine Congress Europe 2013, 16-17 October 2013, Lille.

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