Fluarix Quadrivalent is highly effective against moderate and severe flu strains in children aged 6-35 months, and has the potential to simplify influenza vaccinations for all ages, according the results of a phase 3 clinical trial presented at a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“Fluarix Quadrivalent, at the 0.5-mL dose in young children 6 to 35 months of age, demonstrated efficacy of 63.2% against moderate to severe influenza and 49.8% against any severity influenza disease” stated Leonard Friedland, MD, director of scientific affairs and public health, Vaccines North America, GlaxoSmithKline. Dr. Friedland, a pediatrician in Pennsylvania, said that a standard 0.5-mL dose of Fluarix Quadrivalent has practice-changing implications for physicians. “The use of a 0.5-mL dose (15 mcg per strain) for all persons aged 6 months and older potentially simplifies influenza vaccination by allowing the same vaccine dose to be used for all eligible individuals.”

The high efficacy of Fluarix against almost half of all influenza strains, regardless of severity, and in preventing moderate to severe influenza, correlated with a reduction in health care utilization by pediatric influenza patients, he said. Visits to general practitioners and emergency departments decreased by 47% and 79%, respectively, in children aged 6-35 months. Influenza-associated antibiotic use in these pediatric influenza patients also decreased by 50%.

These findings were the result of D-QIV-004 , a phase 3, observer-blinded, randomized trial of 12,018 children aged 6-35 months. These children were split into five cohorts, each in a different influenza season. The study spanned 13 countries and ran from October 2011 to December 2014. To determine the safety of Fluarix, the study utilized noninfluenza vaccine comparator vaccines that were age appropriate, including Prevnar 13, Havrix, and Varivax.

A majority of the children in the study (98%) were vaccine unprimed (had never received two doses of seasonal influenza vaccine) and received two doses of Fluarix. The remaining children received one dose.

On Jan. 11, 2018, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the indication of Fluarix Quadrivalent to include use in persons 6 months and older. Previously, it was approved only for persons 3 years and older.

“These study results support universal vaccination of all individuals from 6 months of age [with Fluarix] to prevent influenza.” Dr. Friedland concluded.

For live updates and information concerning influenza, visit the CDC website.