GlaxoSmithKline will supply 8 million doses of its flu vaccine, Fluarix. This dosage is twice the amount GSK shipped to US last year. This amount of 8 million doses only represents about 10% of the demand from the US, due to increased need for vaccines against flu. The immense need for vaccination increased due to large vaccination awareness programs organized in the US during recent years, due to the protection it offers against Influenza. The US wants the stock ready for the winter to avoid any shortage in supply which occurred last year. US Health authorities as approved the GSK, which is the biggest UK Pharmaceutical company, which supplied flu vaccines to US last year during the shortage of vaccines. Jean-Pierre Garnier, the chief executive of GSK, said: "The shortage of flu vaccine last year was a reminder of the importance of vaccines in health care."
Vaccine supplies to the US were severely disrupted last year, when British inspectors shut down Chiron's factory in Speke, near Liverpool, because of contamination. Chiron was to produce 50 million shots of its Fluvarin vaccine at the plant last year, and the shutdown cut the number of doses US public health officials had expected by half. Congress asked why supply depended so heavily on Chiron and one other company, and the authorities vowed to increase the number of suppliers.
The need of vaccine this year is higher than last year due to possible concerns that a particularly virulent form of avian flu could mutate and spread to the United States. Fluarix, produced by GSK and other jabs could limit the effects of a pandemic by herd vaccination; herd immunization is achieved by providing vaccination to large population of people and increasing their protection against current strains of flu and helping isolate outbreaks of avian flu.