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AstraZeneca Canada Inc. announced today that FluMist® [Influenza Vaccine (Live, Attenuated)], a needle-free and preservative-free intranasal vaccine,1a is now available in Canada for the prevention of seasonal influenza. FluMist is available with or without a prescription at pharmacies across the country and must be administered by a healthcare professional.1b
FluMist is administered annually as a gentle mist sprayed into the nose and is approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in Canadians two to 59 years of age.1c Clinical trials have demonstrated that in children ages two to 17, FluMist significantly reduced the number of influenza cases compared to the traditional flu shot.1d Specifically, in children two to five years of age, FluMist reduced the number of influenza cases by more than 50 per cent, compared to the injectable vaccine.2
“Children spend a lot of time in highly-populated areas, such as school,3 and therefore have the highest rates of influenza and associated complications,4a and are contagious for a longer period of time.4b Vaccinating children against seasonal flu protects more than just the child, it protects the family and the community against the spread of influenza,”5 says Dr. Earl Rubin, Program Director, McGill Pediatric Infectious Diseases Residency Program and researcher, Montreal Children’s Hospital. “As a physician, I am pleased that starting this flu season there is a vaccine option available that is not only needle-free and easy to administer, but also safe and more effective in children than the injectable vaccine.”
According to a recent survey, 60 per cent of parents would prefer a nasal administration of the vaccine for their children.6a Furthermore, the survey reveals that critical factors guiding parents’ decisions to immunize included safety and efficacy of the seasonal flu vaccine (58 per cent), as well as recommendation by a health care professional (43 per cent). Approximately one in 10 said how the vaccine is administered (12 per cent) and discomfort experienced when receiving the vaccine (nine per cent) are important considerations.6b
FluMist’s unique, needle-free administration method allows the vaccine to enter the nose, one of the places where the influenza virus can enter the body.7
FluMist uses live virus strains recommended by the World Health Organization (northern hemisphere) for this influenza season1e that are weakened so as not to cause the flu.1f FluMist has been used in the U.S. since 2003.
For more information, please visit http://www.flumistcanada.ca/.
About Influenza in Canada
Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in the developed world.8 According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, between 2,000 and 8,000 Canadians can die of influenza and its complications annually, depending on the severity of the season.9 Current guidelines from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) encourage influenza vaccination for all Canadians who have no contraindication.10
About AstraZeneca Canada
AstraZeneca is committed to the research, development and manufacturing of valuable prescription medicines. We have an extensive product portfolio spanning six therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology and respiratory. AstraZeneca’s Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario, and a state-of-the art drug discovery centre is based in Montreal, Quebec. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.astrazeneca.ca/.
FluMist® is a registered trademark of MedImmune licensed to AstraZeneca.
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1 Flumist Product Monograph, 2010.
2 Belshe RB, et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2007; 356:685-696.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2009. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/flu/understandingflu/pages/definitionsoverview.aspx. Accessed August 4, 2010.
4 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CVC). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 2008; 57(RR-7): 1-60. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/rr/rr5707.pdf. Accessed August 4, 2010.
5 MacDonald, N et al. Managing Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza in Infants, Children and Youth. March 31, 2010.
6 Canadian Flu Report. Angus Reid Public Opinion and AstraZeneca Canada. March 2010.
7 Health Canada. Influenza (the “flu”): It’s Your Health. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php. Accessed August 4, 2010.
8 AstraZeneca Annual Report 2009. Influenza virus. http://www.astrazeneca-annualreports.com/2009/directors_report/therapy_area_review/infection/index.html. Accessed August 4, 2010.
9 Public Health Agency of Canada. About Seasonal Influenza (Flu). http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/influenza/index-eng.php. Accessed August 4, 2010.
10 Public Health Agency of Canada. Statement on Seasonal Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (TIV) for 2010-2011. Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR). http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/10vol36/acs-6/index-eng.php. Accessed August 30, 2010.
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