Okayed for people 2 to 49 years old, the FluMist Quadrivalent vaccine from AstraZeneca guards against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B, the Associate Press reported. Previous vaccines protected against two influenza A strains but only one influenza B strain.
"Illness caused by Influenza B virus affects children, particularly young and school-aged, more than any other population," Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA biologics center, said in an agency news release.
Flu sickens millions of people a year. Annual deaths from flu vary widely, with FDA figures showing a low of 3,000 and a high of 49,000 over the past 30 or so years, the AP said.
The new vaccine, much like the existing FluMist vaccine, carries a weakened strain of the virus.
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