The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to release a vaccine schedule today, but it’s no secret that the CDC has been making changes in the vaccine schedule to meet the requirements of the new federal mandate.
The CDC will be releasing the schedule today at 10:30am ET, and a handful of vaccine manufacturers are already gearing up to start receiving the vaccine.
The CDC will release the vaccine in batches of 4.4 million doses, and the vaccine manufacturers will start receiving a large number of doses at 10am ET on Monday, with a total of 12 million doses in the pipeline.
But as of Tuesday morning, the vaccine manufacturer, Fluorax, had not received its initial batch of the flu shot.
The Fluorac® vaccine was made available to the public at 12:01am ET by the CDC.
But the vaccine isn’t yet ready for shipment, and Fluoravax, a biologic product, hasn’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. The Fluorakax vaccine, which is the only vaccine currently on the market, was only approved for use by the FDA in December.
A spokesperson for Fluorx said that Fluorox had been ordered to begin manufacturing a vaccine for use this summer, and was expected to begin shipping by mid-August.
The spokesperson also told Cric that Fluocemet, a Biologics company, had begun manufacturing the Fluorix vaccine.
But for the companies that already have vaccine candidates ready to ship, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to begin distributing the vaccine as soon as they receive it.
The flu shot is meant to be a single shot, so companies that have been in the process of developing the flu vaccines for months are getting the first batch of vaccine before anyone else.
“The vaccine manufacturers need to take advantage of the time they have to get ready for the flu season and start getting people vaccinated,” said Joe Molloy, a professor of clinical immunology and infectious disease at the University of Florida.
“The vaccine manufacturing process will continue through the end of this month.”
Molloy says that he believes the CDC’s decision to wait until July 1 to start releasing the vaccine is a deliberate decision, as the vaccine will only be available for a limited number of months in the future.
“They’re trying to delay this for a few more months to ensure that there is not a rush of flu vaccines coming into the country,” he said.
“This is the beginning of the vaccine manufacturing season and the first thing that needs to happen is to start shipping to the vaccine companies and then get the vaccines to the manufacturers, so that they can start getting the vaccine out there and giving people a shot,” said John Rees, the director of vaccines at the Center for Disease Dynamics and Prevention.
Rees says that even if the flu shots have not yet been delivered to the market and are not ready to be distributed, he believes that the vaccines should be given to people who need them the most, as it is very likely that they will get the flu before everyone else.
“If we get a lot of people with influenza, we’ll have to consider putting them on the list of people to be vaccinated,” he told Crikey.
Fluorax and Fluo-C are already the most popular flu vaccines in the country.
Fluo-A and Fluoro-C both have a combined market share of about 8.7 million doses and the flu has killed nearly 5.7 billion people worldwide.