Sanofi Pasteur manufacturers about half of the influenza vaccine doses used in the United States, according to Michael Szumera, Director, Public Relations, Communications US, in an e-mail interview today. It produced more than sixty million doses of flu vaccine for the U.S. market for this flu season. The company has supplies of two adult vaccine formulas in stock and ready for shipment, Fluzone Intradermal vaccine for ages 18 – 64 and Fluzone High-Dose vaccine for ages 65 and above.
Szumera noted that Sanofi Pasteur is responding to the unanticipated late season demand by producing a limited supply of additional vaccine in 0.5mL unit dose vials. This dosage is intended for children ages 6 months and older. He anticipates that this vaccine product will ship sometime in January.
The latest information about the supply of flu vaccine is from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is through Jan. 5, 2013. As of that date, 128.1 million doses had been shipped from an anticipated 135 million produced by all 5 of the manufacturers licensed to produce influenza vaccine. When asked about shortages via e-mail, Thomas Skinner of the CDC had this to say on Jan. 12.
Manufacturers set supply largely on previous year's demand. Some vaccine out there. People who want to be vaccinated my have to look around for it.
Mr. Szumera says that the company has sold out of its other influenza vaccine presentations, including multi-dose vials. Existing inventory is all single dose prefilled syringes or prefilled microinjection systems. He notes that distributors or healthcare providers may still have supplies of the sold out products.
The CDC provides instructions on the reallocation of influenza vaccine supplies and links to the FDA requirements. In addition, steps taken during the pandemic influenza outbreak are being applied to the 2012-2013 influenza season, with the CDC detailing which patients should receive priority when vaccines are in short supply.