Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Supply for the U.S. 2018-2019 Influenza Season

More of the latest information is available on the total distribution of influenza vaccine doses for the 2018-2019 season.

How much influenza vaccine is projected to be available for the 2018-2019 influenza season?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. Vaccine manufacturers have projected that they will supply as many as 163 million to 168 million doses of i flu vaccine for the 2018-2019 season.

How much thimerosal-free influenza vaccine is expected to be available for the 2018-2019 season?

For the 2018-2019 season, manufacturers will produce influenza vaccines containing thimerosal and some vaccines that do not contain thimerosal. For the 2018-2019 season, only multidose vial presentations of influenza vaccines contain thimerosal.

More than 80 percent of projected vaccine supply produced for the 2018-2019 flu season will be thimerosal-free (i.e., preservative-free).

How much quadrivalent (four-component) vaccine is expected to be available for the 2018-2019 season?

For the 2018-2019 season, manufacturers will produce both trivalent (three-component) and quadrivalent (four-component) influenza vaccines.

More than 80 percent of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2018-2019 flu season will be quadrivalent (4-component) vaccines. The remaining vaccine will be trivalent (3-component), including the high dose and adjuvanted flu vaccines, as well as one brand of standard-dose inactivated vaccine.

How much of the U.S. flu vaccine supply for 2018-2019 will be produced using egg-based manufacturing?

Approximately 85 percent of the projected vaccine supply produced for the 2018-2019 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 2018-2019 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.

Updates on the distribution of influenza vaccine doses for the 2018-2019 season will be provided as the season progresses.

What can we anticipate in terms of the timing of vaccine availability for the 2018-2019 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 2018-19 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 egg allergies can receive any licensed, recommended age-appropriate influenza vaccine (IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) that is otherwise appropriate. People who have a history of severe egg allergy (those who have had any symptom other than hives after exposure to egg) should be vaccinated in a medical setting, supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic reactions.

Where can I find information about vaccine supply?

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