Manufacturers report strong demand for quadrivalent vaccines as GSK readies to ship

glaxosmithkline medimmune sanofi quadrivalent influenza vaccines

GlaxoSmithKline will soon be joining MedImmune and Sanofi Pasteur in shipping quadrivalent influenza vaccines to US healthcare providers, having just received FDA approval to do so. The three quadrivalent vaccine manufacturers have all reported strong demand for the new vaccine, with the CDC – often the largest customer – ordering 8.4 million doses in total.

MedImmune, whose FluMist Quadrivalent was approved in March 2012, says the demand for the nasal spray vaccine has been strong.  A MedImmune spokeswoman told CIDRAP News: "We are on track to produce 13 to 15 million doses of FluMist Quadrivalent for the upcoming influenza season, 2013-2014, and have the capacity to make more if needed.”

Glaxo has also reported strong demand for its Fluarix Quadrivalent vaccine. The company estimates it will provide up to 10 million doses of the quadrivalent vaccine, and up to 24 million doses of flu vaccines overall. “We pre-booked every dose of Fluarix Quadrivalent that we could manufacture—approximately 10 million doses", said GSK's external communications director for vaccines, Rob Perry. "What surprised us about the demand was that it played out despite our not beginning to take orders until almost February, which is toward the end of booking season."

Sanofi Pasteur reportedly plans to produce more than 60 million doses of flu vaccine in total, but it's not clear what proportion of that will be quadrivalent. The demand for the vaccine has been strong, but the company is producing only a limited quantity of the quadrivalent vaccine for the upcoming season. A Sanofi spokewoman told CIDRAP News: “Given the timing, we are producing a limited quantity of Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine for the 2013- 2014 season, with a more full-scale launch planned for next season.”

What do you think? Do you think quadrivalent vaccines will offer the enhanced protection that's been promised? Is there any evidence to suggest quadrivalent vaccines are superior to trivalent? Leave a comment in the box below, or on our LinkedIn group discussion.

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