The MedImmune Specialty Care division of AstraZeneca announced
that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's (CDC) Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that when
available, Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) should be used for
healthy children 2 to 8 years of age, who have no contraindications or
precautions. The ACIP's unanimous vote was based on a systematic
evidence-based assessment methodology called the Grading of
Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (also known as
The decision by the ACIP is an important step toward guiding healthcare
professionals in the protection of children, who have a high burden of
influenza disease. The recommendation for LAIV within this population
was based on a review by the ACIP of the available safety, efficacy and
quality of clinical evidence in the public domain.
"The recommendation is the first time a preference for a specific type
of influenza vaccine has been made within a certain population in the
United States," said Kathleen Coelingh, Ph.D., Senior Director,
AstraZeneca US Medical Affairs. "In Canada and the United Kingdom, LAIV
is already the preferred influenza vaccine for eligible children 2 to 17
years of age based on recommendations by the Canadian National Advisory
Committee on Immunization and the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination
and Immunisation, respectively. Additionally, the World Health
Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts has stated that when
available, LAIV provides higher levels of protection in young children."
The ACIP makes recommendations on the use of licensed vaccine products
given the broader population-based public health and epidemiologic
concerns of controlling infectious diseases. However, decisions on which
influenza vaccine to use should be made by a qualified healthcre
professional who should consult each product's FDA approved labeling as
not all products are approved for all persons and FDA labeling may not
match recommendations such as these.
Despite the CDC's universal recommendation that all individuals 6 months
of age and older receive a flu vaccine each year, vaccination rates are
still lagging at approximately 40-50 percent. The CDC states influenza
vaccination is the first and most important step to help protect against
this disease. ACIP stated that influenza vaccination should not be
delayed to procure a specific vaccine if an appropriate option is
already available. If LAIV is not immediately available, inactivated
influenza vaccine (IIV) should be used.
"AstraZeneca looks forward to continuing their collaboration with the
public health community to help raise awareness about the importance of
influenza vaccination for eligible preschool- and school-age children
and their family members," said Coelingh.
The ACIP's official recommendations will be published in the Morbidity
and Mortality Weekly Report/MMWR in policy note format. For more
information, please go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/.
LAIV is covered by over 99 percent of health insurance plans with
immunization benefits; therefore, most patients who have insurance
coverage for immunizations have coverage for LAIV.
For more information on LAIV, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/
NOTES TO EDITORS
About MedImmune Specialty Care
The MedImmune Specialty Care Division of AstraZeneca is a
patient-focused, biopharmaceutical business unit responsible for the
commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines
for AstraZeneca. Within the U.S., MedImmune Specialty Care provides
commercial support and insights for in-line marketed products addressing
respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity, oncology, infection and
vaccines. Headquarters are located in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business
that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of
prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular,
metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection
and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries
and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.
For more information please visit www.astrazeneca-us.com.
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