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Sanofi Pasteur Introduces 4-Strain Influenza Vaccine (Fluzone) in Canada

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  • New standard of care for the prevention of influenza

  • A 4-strain influenza vaccine for individuals six months of age and older

  • Helps protect children and adults against an additional influenza B strain

October 1, 2014

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, is pleased to announce the launch of its 4-strain influenza vaccine (Fluzone® Quadrivalent) in Canada. This new vaccine was introduced in the United States in 2013 and is quickly becoming the new standard of care for the prevention of influenza. Licensed for use in individuals six months of age and older, Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine provides improved protection against influenza, and will be available in Canada starting this flu season.

For almost four decades, seasonal flu vaccines have conferred protection against three strains: two A subtypes (A/H1N1 and A/H3N2) and one B type. However, the B type has since diverged into two distinct lineages (B/Victoriaand B/Yamagata) which now co-circulate worldwide, and can lead to mismatches between the predicted and actual circulating B strains. Influenza B is often responsible for flu epidemics, which occur every two to four years, and the associated illnesses, deaths, and high costs of hospitalization.  In recent years, influenza B viruses have represented up to 53% of annually circulating strains in Canada. Age groups at highest risk include youth (≤19 years old) and the elderly (≥65 years old), which, in 2012-2013, represented 40% and 35% of hospitalizations associated with influenza B, respectively.

The new 4-strain vaccine represents the logical next step in the evolution of influenza immunization. Dr. Allison McGeer, Director of Infection Control at Mount Sinai Hospital agrees: “Quadrivalent influenza vaccines will provide better protection against the serious consequences of influenza.”

Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, describes the launch of the 4-strain influenza vaccine in Canadaas an important step towards improving the health of the Canadian population:
“We are pleased to be a leader in influenza vaccination through the launch of this important 4-strain vaccine inCanada and we are committed to developing vaccine solutions that fit with the current influenza epidemiology. We are confident that Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine will provide greater protection against seasonal flu.”

About the evolution of influenza vaccines
In the early 1930s, the influenza vaccine was monovalent, containing a single A strain. In 1942, the vaccine was changed to protect against both the dominant A and B strains. In response to the divergence of the A strain, a trivalent influenza vaccine was launched in 1978, offering protection against two A strains and one B strain, which co-circulated in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Every winter, the World Health Organization reports which influenza strains are expected to circulate in the upcoming influenza season, and the vaccine manufacturers develop their influenza vaccines accordingly.

About influenza and vaccination
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection with common symptoms that include chills, fever, cough, fatigue, headache, and loss of appetite. Most people will recover from influenza within seven to ten days, but some, including those over 65 years of age, and adults and children with chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer, are at greater risk of more severe complications. Annually, the influenza virus causes between 3 and 5 million severe cases, and between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths worldwide. In Canada, it is estimated that between 10-20% of the population becomes infected with influenza every year, resulting in approximately 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths annually.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends annual vaccination to help prevent influenza for all individuals six months of age and older. For optimal protection, it is required that children aged six months through eight years receiving influenza vaccination for the first time receive two doses approximately one month apart.

Important Safety Information
Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine is an inactivated influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of persons six months of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza A subtype viruses and type B viruses contained in the vaccine.

Side effects associated with Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine may include pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, muscle aches, malaise, headache, and fever. In young children, side effects may include irritability, crying and drowsiness. Other side effects may occur. Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine is contraindicated in those with known severe allergic reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of this vaccine, including egg protein, or to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine containing the same components or constituents.

Individuals with a known history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks after a previous influenza vaccination should talk to the doctor to evaluate the potential benefits and risks of vaccination with Fluzone®Quadrivalent vaccine.

Ask your healthcare provider if Fluzone® Quadrivalent vaccine is right for you.

About Sanofi
Sanofi, an integrated global healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, consumer healthcare, emerging markets, animal health and the new Genzyme. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, provides more than 1 billion doses of vaccine each year, making it possible to immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the vaccine industry, Sanofi Pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The company’s heritage, to create vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi Pasteur is the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more information, please visit www.sanofipasteur.ca.

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