Starting this fall, pharmacists will be able to provide influenza vaccinations to adults 18 to 64 years of age with the first needle-free delivery device approved by FDA.
In mid-August, PharmaJet Inc., the company that developed the technology, and bioCSL Inc., the manufacturer of Afluria, an inactivated influenza vaccine, received FDA approval for the PharmaJet Stratis 0.5mL Needle-Free Jet Injector for administration of Afluria in patients who want protection during this year’s flu season.
“We hope that this option can facilitate broader immunization coverage,” said James A. Bowman, PharmaJet’s president and chief commercial officer, who spoke with Drug Topics during the 2014 NACDS Total Store Expo meeting in Boston.
“The CDC recommends that all citizens over six months old get a flu shot, but for the last five years the flu vaccine rate has been hovering at about 40%. Of those who forgo immunization, about one-third do so through aversion to or fear of needles,” Bowman said.
The CDC’s surveillance of influenza vaccination coverage in the United States showed an increase in uptake for adults ≥18 years from 33% in 2007–2008 to 38% in 2011–2012. Influenza vaccination coverage tends to increase as patients reach middle age and retirement age, the CDC reported.
Coverage in the 2011-2012 season was about 26% for young adults between the ages of 18 and 49 years. The rate reached 44% among individuals aged 50 to 64 years, and climbed higher to almost 70% in patients aged 65 and older. However, this is far below the Healthy People 2020 target of 70% for all adults 18 years of age and older.