Recent Outbreaks Emphasize Importance of Influenza Vaccination
To Help Keep Families Healthy During the Holidays
GAITHERSBURG, Md., and MADISON, N.J., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- If
you think the time for annual influenza vaccinations has come and gone, think
again. As flu season gets underway, with outbreaks already occurring in many
states, including Texas, Colorado, and Florida, now is the time to see your
doctor or pharmacist to get vaccinated. In fact, the Centers for Disease
Control & Prevention (CDC) states that it is not too late to get vaccinated
once an outbreak has begun. And because one of the influenza strains in
circulation this year is a variant of the strains contained in all influenza
vaccines, it is especially important to get vaccinated now if you have not
already done so.
Although flu vaccination generally takes place in October or November, it
may still be effective when administered in December and throughout the
influenza season. If you have not yet received a vaccination, now is time to
get one to help you and your family stay healthy during the holidays.
Although the timing of influenza activity changes each year, and isolated
outbreaks can occur at any time, the CDC reminds us that the peak month of
influenza activity historically has been in February.
And now there is a new way to help avoid bringing the flu home this
holiday season. For the first time, healthy people 5 to 49 years of age can
be vaccinated with FluMist(TM), Influenza Virus Vaccine Live, Intranasal, the
first needle-free flu vaccine available in the U.S. FluMist helps prevent the
flu where the virus usually enters the body -- through the nose.
"The winter months are not too late to get vaccinated against the flu,"
advises Jim King, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Vaccine
Studies at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Flu vaccination is
important not only to help prevent the sickness caused by influenza, but also
to help stop the spread of the virus within a community. Because the flu has
already hit several states in the U.S., everyone, including healthy people,
should be vaccinated now for influenza if they haven't already. In fact,
early indications show that it could be a severe flu season."
While there has traditionally been a focus on protecting the elderly and
those at increased risk for complications from influenza, the flu can also be
a heavy burden for even the healthiest populations. School children and
working adults are at increased risk for catching influenza because the flu
quickly spreads in closed environments, such as schools and offices. School-
aged children are usually the first to contract influenza and often bring the
flu home, infecting parents and other household contacts. In most outbreaks,
school absenteeism is usually followed by employee absenteeism. For example,
one study found that for every 100 students monitored during the flu season,
there were 63 missed school days and 20 missed workdays by parents. In
addition, college students and frequent travelers are also at increased risk
for catching influenza and spreading it to others.
FluMist(TM) is manufactured by MedImmune Vaccines, Inc., and copromoted
with Wyeth Vaccines. It is now available in more than 15,000 doctors' offices
and pharmacies for the 2003-2004 influenza season. To locate doctors' offices
or pharmacies near you that carry FluMist or for more information about the
vaccine, visit www.FluMist.com or call 1-877-FluMist.
FluMist is indicated for active immunization for the prevention of disease
caused by influenza A and B viruses in healthy children and adolescents, 5 to
17 years of age, and healthy adults, 18 to 49 years of age.
There are risks associated with all vaccines, including FluMist. FluMist
does not protect 100% of individuals vaccinated, or protect against viral
strains not represented in the vaccine. FluMist is not indicated for
immunization of individuals less than 5 years of age, or 50 years of age and
FluMist is contraindicated in persons with hypersensitivity to any
component of the vaccine, including eggs; in children and adolescents
receiving aspirin therapy or aspirin-containing therapy; in individuals with a
history of Guillain-Barre syndrome; and in individuals with known or suspected
immune deficiency. The safety and efficacy of FluMist have not been
established in pregnant women or for patients with chronic underlying medical
conditions, including asthma or reactive airways disease; the vaccine should
not be administered to these patients. In placebo-controlled clinical trials,
the most common solicited adverse events in healthy children (n=214) included
runny nose/nasal congestion, cough, irritability, headache, decreased
activity, sore throat, fever (oral temperature >100:F), muscle aches, chills,
and vomiting. The most common adverse events in healthy adults (n=2,548)
included runny nose, headache, sore throat, tiredness/weakness, muscle aches,
cough, and chills. See Prescribing Information for indications and usage,
dosage and administration, and safety information.
About MedImmune, Inc., and Wyeth
MedImmune Vaccines, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of MedImmune, Inc.
(Nasdaq: MEDI). MedImmune is a leading biotechnology company focused on
researching, developing, and commercializing products to prevent or treat
infectious disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer. MedImmune actively
markets four products, Synagis(R) (palivizumab), FluMist(TM), Influenza Virus
Vaccine Live, Intranasal, Ethyol(R) (amifostine), and CytoGam(R)
(cytomegalovirus immune globulin intravenous [human]), and has additional
products in clinical testing. MedImmune employs approximately 1,700 people,
is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and has additional operations in
Frederick, Maryland, as well as Pennsylvania, California, the United Kingdom,
and the Netherlands. For more information on MedImmune, visit the company's
Web site at www.medimmune.com.
Wyeth Vaccines is a business unit of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of
Wyeth (NYSE: WYE). Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has leading products in the areas of
women's health care, cardiovascular disease, central nervous system,
inflammation, hemophilia, oncology, and vaccines. Wyeth is one of the world's
largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It
is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and marketing of
pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products, and non-prescription
medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The
Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer
Healthcare, and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are
forward-looking statements based on current expectations of future events that
involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, risks
associated with the inherent uncertainty of pharmaceutical research, product
development, manufacturing and commercialization, economic conditions,
including interest and currency exchange rate fluctuations, the impact of
competitive or generic products, product liability and other types of
lawsuits, the impact of legislative and regulatory compliance and obtaining
approvals, and patent, and other risks and uncertainties, including those
detailed from time to time in Wyeth's and MedImmune's periodic reports,
including quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual reports on Form 10-K,
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may vary
materially from the forward-looking statements. The Companies assume no
obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a
result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
SOURCE Wyeth; MedImmune, Inc.
/CONTACT: Media: Douglas Petkus of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals,
+1-484-865-5140; Jamie Lacey of MedImmune, Inc., +1-240-632-4035; or
Investors: Will Roberts of MedImmune, Inc., +1-301-527-4358; or Justin
Victoria of Wyeth, +1-973-660-5340/
/Web site: http://www.medimmune.com
CO: Wyeth; MedImmune, Inc.; MedImmune Vaccines, Inc.; Wyeth Vaccines; Wyeth
Pharmaceuticals; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention; CDC
ST: Maryland, New Jersey
IN: HEA MTC
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6665 12/04/2003 08:00 EST http://www.prnewswire.com