This fall, take the ouch out of flu vaccination

~ FluMist®, the only needle-free influenza vaccine, is now available at pharmacies across British Columbia ~

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 12, 2011 /CNW/ - Flu season is just around the corner, so it's time to start thinking about how to protect your family against the seasonal flu. Each year, an estimated 10 per cent of British Columbia residents contract the flu,1 with children two to three times more likely than adults to come down with the virus.2 Studies suggest that vaccinating children against seasonal flu protects the family and community at large against the spread of influenza.3

"Children tend to be the most vulnerable to be infected with influenza, because they spend a lot of time in busy and crowded areas, like daycares and schools. They often will then pass along the virus to their friends and family members," says Dr. Jane Finlay, a pediatrician based in Vancouver. "Because of this, experts agree that annual vaccination against the flu, especially targeting children, is very effective reducing the burden of influenza in the community as a whole."

To help protect against seasonal influenza, FluMist® [Influenza Vaccine (Live, Attenuated)], the only needle-free vaccine,4 is available this fall at local pharmacies and doctor's offices across Canada.  FluMist® is a gentle mist sprayed into the nose, where the influenza virus typically enters the body,5 inducing protective immunity.

"With FluMist, parents can have peace of mind that their child does not have to endure the discomfort of an injectable vaccine, but more importantly, also know that FluMist is more effective than the traditional Flu shot in protecting children against the influenza virus," says Dr. Finlay.

Clinical trials demonstrate that in children ages two to 17, FluMist® significantly reduced the number of influenza cases compared to the traditional flu shot.Furthermore, in children two to five years of age, FluMist® reduced the number of influenza cases by more than 50 per cent, compared to the flu shot.7

More information about FluMist® is available at www.flumistcanada.ca.

About Influenza in Canada

Influenza is the most common vaccine-preventable disease in the developed world.8 According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, between 4,000 and 8,000 Canadians can die of influenza and its complications annually, depending on the severity of the season.9 Current guidelines from NACI encourage influenza vaccination for all Canadians who have no contraindication.1

About FluMist

FluMist® is available at pharmacies across the country and must be administered by a healthcare professional.11 In the province of British Columbia, pharmacists are authorized to administer flu vaccinations, which includes FluMist®.12 Approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in Canadians two to 59 years of age,13 FluMist® is a preservative-free vaccine that uses live virus strains recommended by the World Health Organization (northern hemisphere) for this influenza season14 that are weakened so as not to cause the flu.15

Available in the U.S. since 2003, FluMist® has been studied in more than 140,000 people and more than 39 million doses have been manufactured and distributed in the U.S. alone. FluMist® is a registered trademark of MedImmune licensed to AstraZeneca.

About AstraZeneca Canada

AstraZeneca is committed to the research, development and manufacturing of valuable prescription medicines. We have an extensive product portfolio spanning six therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, infection, neuroscience, oncology and respiratory. AstraZeneca's Canadian headquarters are located in Mississauga, Ontario, and a state-of-the art drug discovery centre is based in Montreal, Quebec.  For more information, please visit the company's website at www.astrazeneca.ca.


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1 Vancouver Coastal Health. Pandemic Influenza: what you need to know. http://www.vch.ca/media/what_you_need_to_know.pdf. Accessed August 31, 2011.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2009. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/flu/understandingflu/pages/definitionsoverview.aspx. Accessed August 9, 2011.

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2009. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/flu/understandingflu/pages/definitionsoverview.aspx. Accessed August 9, 2011.

4 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.

5 Health Canada. Influenza 2009. http://www.hc-sc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php.  Accessed  August 19, 2011.

6 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.

7 Belshe RB, et al.  New England Journal of Medicine,  2007; 356:685-696

8 AstraZeneca Annual Report and Form 20-F Information 2009. Infection: Influenza virus. http://www.astrazeneca-annualreports.com/2009/directors_report/therapy_area_review/infection/index.html. Accessed August 4, 2010.

9 Health Canada. Influenza 2009. http://www.hc-sc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php.  Accessed  August 19, 2011.

10 Canada Communicable Disease Report (CCDR). Statement of Seasonal Trivalent Inactivated influenza Vaccine (TIV) for 2010-2011, 2009.

11 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.

12 British Columbia Pharmacy Association. Seasonal Flu Info, 2011. http://www.bcpharmacy.ca/seasonal-flu-info. Accessed August 31, 2011.

13 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.

14 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.

15 Flumist Product Monograph, 2011.



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SOURCE AstraZeneca Canada Inc.

For further information:

Erica Adelson           
Edelman
Tel: 416-849-8913
erica.adelson@edelman.com   
Jennifer Gordon
AstraZeneca Canada
Tel: 905-804-4901 
jennifer.gordon@astrazeneca.com 

 


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