Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Supply for the U.S. 2020-2021 Influenza Season

More of the latest information is available on the total distribution of influenza vaccine doses for the 2020-2021 season.

How much influenza vaccine is projected to be available for the 2020-2021 influenza season?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply between 194 million and 198 million doses of influenza vaccine for the 2020-2021 season. This is a 20 million dose increase compared to the record 175 million doses distributed for the 2019-2020 flu season.

Why are so many doses of flu vaccine expected to be available for the 2020-21 flu season?

For the upcoming flu season, flu vaccination will be very important to reduce flu because it can help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and thus lessen the resulting burden on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How much thimerosal-free influenza vaccine is expected to be available for the 2020-2021 season?

For the 2020-2021 season, manufacturers will produce influenza vaccines that do not contain thimerosal and some vaccines that do contain thimerosal. For the 2020-2021 season, only multidose vial presentations of influenza vaccines contain thimerosal.

Approximately 87% of projected vaccine supply, or 171 million doses of flu vaccine, produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be thimerosal-free or thimerosal-reduced (i.e., preservative-free).

How much quadrivalent (four-component) vaccine is expected to be available for the 2020-2021 season?

For the 2020-2021 season, manufacturers will produce mostly quadrivalent (four-component) influenza vaccines.

Approximately 99% of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be quadrivalent (4-component) vaccines. The only trivalent vaccine available for the 2020-2020 flu season will be the trivalent formulation of the adjuvanted flu vaccine licensed for use in adults 65 years and older.

How much of the U.S. flu vaccine supply for 2020-2021 will be produced using egg-based manufacturing?

Approximately 81% of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2020-2021 flu season will be produced using egg-based manufacturing technology. The remaining vaccine will be produced using cell-based and recombinant technology.

Can I still buy influenza vaccine for the 2020-2021 season?

Influenza vaccine pre-booking typically occurs between January and March, though most preparations of vaccine should still be available for purchase. Providers should contact distributors and local vendors about remaining supply. In addition, beginning in early October each year, information about manufacturers and distributors who still have influenza vaccine available for sale can be found at http://www.preventinfluenza.org/ivats/external iconexternal icon.

Updates on the distribution of influenza vaccine doses for the 2020-2021 season will be provided as the season progresses.

What can we anticipate in terms of the timing of vaccine availability for the 2020-2021 season?

The timing of vaccine availability depends on when production is completed. Some influenza vaccine shipments have already begun and will continue throughout August, September, October, and November until all of the vaccine is distributed.

More information on vaccines available in the United States for the 2020-21 influenza season.

Are all influenza vaccines the same?

All influenza vaccines contain antigen derived from the same influenza viruses, with the one difference being that trivalent vaccines have 3 different antigens and quadrivalent vaccines have four different antigens (the same three that are in the trivalent vaccines, plus one more). However, aside from the antigen composition, different influenza vaccines are manufactured differently and different preparations have different indications as licensed by the FDA. In particular, each is licensed for a specific age range. All recipients should receive a vaccine that is appropriate for their age. In addition, LAIV (the nasal spray flu vaccine) is not recommended for use in some populations.

Special Consideration Regarding Egg Allergy

People with a history of egg allergy who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg should receive influenza vaccine. Any licensed, recommended influenza vaccine (i.e., any IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) that is otherwise appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status may be used.

People who report having had reactions to egg involving symptoms other than hives (e.g., angioedema or swelling, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent vomiting) or who required epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention may similarly receive any licensed, recommended influenza vaccine (i.e., any IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health status. The selected vaccine should be administered in an inpatient or outpatient medical setting (including, but not necessarily limited to, hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Vaccine administration should be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.

A previous severe allergic reaction to influenza vaccine, regardless of the component suspected of being responsible for the reaction, is a contraindication to future receipt of the vaccine.

Where can I find information about vaccine supply?

Information about vaccine supply is available on the CDC influenza web site.