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March 27, 2018

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FDA Approves 2008–2009 Flu Vaccines

September 9, 2008:

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it has approved this year's influenza vaccines, which include new strains of the virus during the 2008–2009 season.

The six vaccines and their manufacturers are:

  • CSL Limited, Afluria
  • GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Fluarix
  • ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec, FluLaval
  • MedImmune Vaccines Inc., FluMist
  • Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, Fluvirin
  • Sanofi Pasteur Inc., Fluzone

Each year, experts from the FDA, World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other institutions study virus samples and patterns collected throughout the year from around the world in an effort to identify strains that may cause the most illness in the upcoming season. This season's vaccines contain three strains of the influenza virus that disease experts expect to be the most likely cause of the flu in the United States. If the vaccines and the viruses circulating are not an exact match, the vaccine will still provide some protection and reduce the severity of the illness.

Based on those studies and on the recommendations of its advisory committee, the FDA decides each February on the three strains that manufacturers should include in their vaccines .The FDA makes this decision early in the year so that manufacturers have enough time to produce the new vaccines.

Vaccination remains the cornerstone of preventing the flu, a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. According to the CDC, every year an average of five to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, more than 200,000 are hospitalized from flu complications, and there are about 36,000 flu-related deaths. Some individuals, the elderly, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for flu-related complications. Vaccination of these groups and of health care personnel is critical.

When reporting these immunizations, review the influenza virus CPT codes 90655–90663. Administration should be reported with CPT codes 90471–90472 and 90473–90474. It also is wise to communicate with your payers about any changes to reporting and payment.

Nichole VanHorn
Clinical/Technical Editor


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