An estimated 2.6 million anti-flu vaccines to be used this winter
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    An estimated 2.6 million anti-flu vaccines to be used this winter

    Three firms have put seasonal anti-flu vaccines on the Belgian market for the coming winter, stated Monday the spokesperson for the Federal agency for medical and health products (AFMPS). These companies will distribute a total of 2.635 million doses, a figure lower than that of last year.

    Suppliers of anti-flu vaccines had estimated 3.257 million doses for the 2015-2016 winter. Five pharmaceutical companies shared the market at that time.

    However, since then, AstraZeneca decided to longer sell its Fluenz Tetra in Belgium, the first anti-flu drug for four types of viruses applied as nasal spray, the effectiveness of which has been questioned.

    The Intanza vaccine, exclusively for use by those over 65, will no longer be on the market this year, according to AFMPS, following a decision by its manufacturer.

    GSK is the company which plans to sell the most doses in the Belgian market: 1.6 million units. Its Alpharix Tetra is the only quadrivalent vaccine; that is, which has antigens against the two most common strains of type A and components against the two strains of type B in circulation.

    Trivalent vaccines Influvac of Mylan and Vaxigrip of Sanofi will be distributed, respectively, at 735,000 and 300,000 units. Since the beginning of September, pharmacies have already received 1.5 million vaccine units against seasonal flu, stated AFMPS.

    The Higher Council of Health recommended all persons at risk of complications, as well as their close relations, parents of children under six months, and the staff of the health sector to be inoculated.

    Last winter, trivalent vaccines were not effective against strain B of the virus which was the most common. Notwithstanding this unsuitability, Belgium did not have an abnormally high mortality rate during the season, according to the Institute for public health.

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)