Flucelvax Gets FDA Approval, Coming to a Pharmacy Near You
Novartis’s seasonal influenza vaccine Flucelvax is the first of its kind. It is a cell culture derived vaccine, approved for patients 18 and over. Flucelvax just received its approval on November 21, 2012. Pharmacies nationwide will start seeing the vaccine available.
What makes Flucelvax different from traditional influenza vaccines?
Flucelvax is produced in a sterile, controlled environment which greatly reduces its chances of containing any impurities. This is something that pharmacists should bring up when informing patients of the benefits of getting the Flucelvax vaccine. Given the recent furor over the meningitis outbreak, patients are going to want to know that their vaccines were produced in a sterile, contaminant free environment. In addition to this, Flucelvax is not derived from eggs. This makes it an optimal flu vaccine choice for those who are opposed to egg based vaccines due to allergies or moral reasons.
Flucelvax is an important milestone in pharmacy technology, and pharmacies will be able to respond rapidly to a possible outbreak of influenza. Unlike traditional egg based vaccines, where there must be a large quantity of fertilized [chicken] eggs available to produce the vaccine, there is no waiting period required. Flucelvax production is set to begin once the vaccine is ready for a commercial release. This will allow pharmacies to be able to offer a quick, efficient, and modern response to seasonal influenza outbreaks.
Influenza is highly contagious and potentially deadly–especially to children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Pharmacies can set up clinics to administer the vaccine to those patients at a high risk for exposure. Informing patients of the benefits of Flucelvax is only the first step to preventing the spread of influenza. Flu shot clinics allow for a connection to be made between pharmacies and their patients, and offer an exchange of information that may not otherwise be available. Customer retention relies on patients feeling connected to their pharmacy, their pharmacist, and their community. Meeting and serving their needs can be aided by offering a Flucelvax clinic to your local area.
Flucelvax is a major step forward for medical science, and pharmacies can expect even more breakthroughs in the future.
What does your pharmacy think of Flucelvax’s approval by the FDA? How are you preparing for its commercial release? If your pharmacy offers traditional flu clinics, how will Flucelvax integrate into your existing influenza program? Share your thoughts on the vaccine in the comments below.