The quadivialent flu vaccine is allegedly supposed to protect against four strains of the flu, as opposed to the original trivalent, which protected against three flu strains.
AstraZeneca, GalaxoSmithKline, and Sanofi were the only manufacturers to sell quadivialent flu vaccines, which increased sales a great deal.
Two Different Types of Flu Shots
There are two different kinds of flu vaccines, trivalent and quadivalent.
Trivalent vaccines protect against three strains of the flu, A/H3N2, A/H1N1, and influenza B. Trivalent vaccines are available in:
- Traditional flu shots approved for 6months and older
- Intradermal shots which use a shorter needle, approved for 18-64
- High dose shots available for people over 65
- Recombinant shots created using DNA technology, approved for people 18-49 with severe egg allergy.
Quadivalent vaccines protect against 4 strains of the flu A/H3N2, A/H1N1 and two strains of influenza. These vaccines are available in traditional flu shots approved for 6 months and older and a nasal spry approved for healthy people from 2-49 except pregnant women.
Why Are Sales Soaring?
AstraZeneca, GSK, and Sanofi are the only manufacturers to sell quadivalent flu vaccines this winter. Data found by the CDC shows that these quadivalent flu vaccines command a significant price over the original trivalent.
All three companies have seen a significant growth in sales during this year’s flu season. While, Sanofi increased the amount charged to private sector buyers by 34 percent, GSK upped its price b 45 percent.
Both of these manufacturers could also see growth in sales by cutting production of the cheaper trivalent vaccines.
However, AstraZeneca was the only company to stop selling trivalent vaccines in the U.S. after gaining approval for its quadivalent version.
The three manufacturers are now seeking approval to take this quadivalent vaccine into Europe. AstraZeneca has been approved to start selling the vaccine in Europe and GSK has be granted clearance in the United Kingdom and Germany.
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