News & Events

Sept 28 09 Seasonal Flu Vaccine Update

Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

  • (New) CDC continues to recommend seasonal flu vaccination. Currently the vast majority of influenza being reported to CDC is 2009 influenza A (H1N1). However, influenza is very unpredictable and an increasing amount seasonal flu may circulate at any point in the season. The new 2009 H1N1 influenza virus is a reminder of the unpredictable nature of influenza, and the importance of prevention.
  • While the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has been the focus of attention since the spring, it is important that we do not forget the risks posed by seasonal influenza viruses. We expect that seasonal flu viruses will circulate this season along with 2009 H1N1.
  • We hope that people, especially those at high risk for serious complications and their close contacts, will seek seasonal flu vaccines now or as soon as vaccine is available in their communities. The seasonal influenza vaccine will be available earlier than the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine. Seasonal influenza viruses are still expected to cause illness this fall and winter along with 2009 H1N1 virus.
  • Seasonal flu vaccine is now available in many locations. Individuals are encouraged to get their seasonal flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available in their community. For public seasonal flu clinics in Massachusetts, go to:, or call 211.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine & People age 65 and over

  • People age 65 years and over are at increased risk for complications from seasonal influenza and are recommended for annual seasonal flu vaccines. This year is no exception. CDC’s priority for people 65 and older is to have them get their seasonal flu vaccine first, before the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine is available.

Supply and Distribution

  • At the current time, five influenza vaccine manufacturers are projecting as many as 114 to 115 million doses of seasonal influenza vaccine will be available from currently licensed manufacturers in the United States for use during the 2009-10 influenza season. Manufacturers project producing approximately 50 million doses of thimerosal-free, or preservative-free, seasonal influenza vaccine.
  • (Updated) Approximately 60 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine have been distributed nationally, as of September 18, 2009.
  • Manufacturer projections indicate that the vast majority of vaccine will be distributed by the end of October. However, some vaccine distribution may continue into November, including doses that are ordered during the fall.
  • 2009 H1N1 vaccine production efforts currently underway are being carried out in such a way to minimize any impact upon the total amount of seasonal vaccine available. In fact, the timing of 2009 H1N1 vaccine production, as directed by the federal government, was designed to allow sufficient time for manufacturers to be able to carry out their planned production of seasonal influenza vaccine.
  • Despite vaccine production estimates that exceed past usage, providers seeking to order vaccine currently and during the past several weeks have experienced challenges in doing so. There are several reasons for these challenges. First, in early June, one of the manufacturers adjusted down their seasonal flu vaccine estimates, which resulted in some customers switching prebooks to other products. These switches reserved unprebooked vaccines that were still available for order, making doses that are normally available for order during the summer and early fall months no longer available. Second, there may be more providers seeking to purchase vaccine at this time of year than normally occurs due to (1) recent 2009 H1N1 disease and related coverage in the media that may have increased the demand for seasonal flu vaccination, and (2) a desire to complete seasonal flu vaccination efforts in advance of 2009 H1N1 vaccination efforts to the extent possible.
  • As in past seasons, availability of seasonal vaccine may change as the season progresses because some prebooks do not materialize into purchases. Providers looking to order additional vaccine should be encouraged to use the supplies that they have now and continue to look for additional flu vaccine for purchase in the coming weeks.
  • MDPH has distributed 563,000 doses of state-supplied seasonal flu vaccines, 63% of the 885,000 doses ordered for this flu season. MDPH will continue to distribute seasonal flu vaccine to providers as soon as it is available.
  • To assist providers in finding flu vaccine available for purchase, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit supports IVATS, the Influenza Vaccine Availability Tracking System, which provides information about vaccine manufacturers and distributors with vaccine available for purchase. IVATS can be found at: The information in IVATS is updated throughout the influenza vaccination season.
  • CDC’s seasonal influenza web site is now live at