Free flu vaccinations for all children in the UK using AZ’s Fluenz

The BBC has reported that the UK government have announced that children between the ages of two to 17-year-olds in the UK are to be offered annual flu vaccinations free of charge.

This will be the first initiative of its kind in the world and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) believes even with moderate vaccination uptake among children of around 30% there will be 11,000 fewer hospitalisations and 2,000 fewer deaths each year. The children will be immunised using a nasal spray rather than an injection, starting in 2014 at the earliest.

The news is particularly good for AstraZeneca, as the JCVI has advised that its live attenuated intranasal influenza vaccine Fluenz should be the vaccine of choice for extending the programme, “given the evidence of effectiveness, protection against drifted strains and safety, and in the absence of any equivalently effective alternative authorised vaccine”.


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