Healthcare Professional Site Patient website | Abbott Global | Log in

FAQs

HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

 

1) Administration With Other Vaccines

Influvac® and Imuvac® are inactivated vaccines. They can be given at the same time as other vaccines. Immunisation should be carried out on separate limbs. Adverse reactions may be intensified.1

Ref:1.Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

2) Adverse Effects

All adverse events to Influvac® or Imuvac® should be reported to Abbott Healthcare Products by phone on 0800 121 8267.

To view a full list of adverse effects, please see Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs section 4.8 (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

3) Antibiotics

We are not aware of any interactions between influenza vaccine and antibiotics.

The vaccine may contain traces of gentamicin. This antibiotic is used during the manufacturing process.

Our SPC states that use of our vaccines in patients hypersensitive to any of the active substances or excipients including gentamicin is contraindicated.1

We are not aware of any cross-reactivity between penicillin and gentamicin. Therefore patients sensitive to penicillin should be able to receive influenza vaccine.

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

4) Breast Feeding

Influvac® and Imuvac® may be used during breastfeeding.

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

5) Egg Protein Content (Ovalbumin)

Can Influvac® or Imuvac® be given to patients hypersensitive (allergic) to chicken protein and eggs?

Influvac® and Imuvac® should not be given to patients hypersensitive (allergic) to chicken protein or eggs. The ovalbumin content of the vaccine is not more than 0.1mcg per 0.5 ml dose (i.e. 0.2 mcg per ml)1

Ref:1. Data on file RM27322

Back to Top

6) Children

Can Influvac® and Imuvac® be used in young children? Yes in children from 6 months of age. See below for details. Administration of Influvac® and Imuvac® in children Children less than 6 months: No experience exists of Influvac® and Imuvac® being used in children under 6 months of age. Children from 6 months to 35 months: Clinical data are limited. Dosages of 0.25 ml or 0.5ml may be given. The dose given should be in accordance with existing national recommendations. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has been advised that where these alternative doses are indicated in the SPC, the 0.5ml dose of intramuscular inactivated influenza vaccine should be given to infants aged six months or older and young children because there is evidence that this dose is effective in young children.1

Adults and children from 36 months: 0.5ml Immunisation should be intramuscular or deep subcutaneous injection.

The UK Department of Health (Green Book) recommends that children aged 6 months to less than 9 years who have not received the intramuscular influenza vaccine before should receive a second dose of vaccine at least four weeks later. Administration of 0.25ml dose of Influvac® and Imuvac®2

The Influvac® and Imuvac® 0.5ml syringe is not graduated. For administration of a 0.25ml dose from a syringe:

Eject the air from the syringe.

Push the front side of the plunger exactly to the edge of the mark so that half of the volume is eliminated; a volume of 0.25 ml of the vaccine remains in the syringe, suitable for administration.

Refs:1.Immunisation against infectious disease. Green Book. July 2014. Chapter 19. Influenza. Accessed August 2014 2. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

7) Interchangeable vaccines

The inactivated trivalent seasonal influenza vaccines are interchangeable, as quoted in the Green Book, Chapter 19 (updated July 2014) page 201.

Therefore if a child needs two doses of Influenza seasonal vaccine four weeks apart, then two different brands of seasonal flu vaccines could be used.

Ref:1.Immunisation against infectious disease. Green Book. July 2014. Chapter 19. Influenza. Accessed August 2014

Back to Top

8) Constituents

The constituents of Influvac® and Imuvac® for the 2014/2015 season as recommended by the World Health Organization are as follows:

Active constituents Influvac® and Imuvac®:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus

Other constituents: Influvac® and Imuvac®

  • Potassium dihydrogen phosphate
  • Disodium phosphate dihydrate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Potassium chloride
  • Calcium chloride dihydrate
  • Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
  • Water for injections

Residue or traces of:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Cetyltrimethylammonium bromide
  • Ovalbumin
  • Chicken proteins
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Gentamicin

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk) & WHO

Back to Top

9) Contraindications

Which patients should not be vaccinated?

Allergy to eggs or chicken protein

Patients hypersensitive (allergic) to eggs or chicken protein should not be vaccinated with Influvac® and Imuvac®.

Allergy to gentamicin or any other constituent of the vaccine. As Influvac® and Imuvac® may contain minimal amounts of gentamicin, they should not be used in patients hypersensitive to this antibiotic. Patients who are allergic to any of the ingredients or to any of the components that could be present in trace amounts, should not receive Influvac® and Imuvac®. Please also see Question 8 Constituents.

Febrile Illness: Vaccination should be postponed in patients with febrile illness or acute infection.

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

10) Damaged Vaccine Syringes

What should I do if Influvac® or Imuvac® syringes arrive damaged?

Where at all possible the damaged syringe(s) should be carefully packaged and returned to:-

Quality Assurance Dept
Abbott Laboratories Ltd
Abbott House
Vanwall Business Park
Vanwall Road
Maidenhead
SL6 4XE

Please enclose a short summary of the problem, your name and address and account number. Please also say whether you would like credit or the stock replaced.

Back to Top

11) Expiry Date

Can Influvac® or Imuvac® be used beyond its expiry date?

The shelf-life is 12 months provided that the vaccine has been stored correctly. Use of any vaccine after its expiry date is not recommended.

In addition the vaccines contain appropriate quantities of the A and B virus strains that are recommended by the WHO. These strains vary from year to year and therefore vaccines from previous years may not contain the current recommended virus strains.

Please also see 19) Storage and Stability

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

12) Flu

Can Influvac® or Imuvac® cause the flu?

Influvac® and Imuvac® contain inactivated viral components and thus cannot cause influenza.

Influenza-like symptoms can be caused by many respiratory infections (including the common cold) and Influvac® and Imuvac® will not prevent these.

The incubation period for the flu is a few days, so if a patient is exposed to the flu immediately before or after vaccination, the illness could still develop.

Ref:1.Immunisation against infectious disease. Green Book. July 2014. Chapter 19. Influenza. Accessed August 2014

Back to Top

13) Frequency Of Vaccination

Is vaccination with Influvac® or Imuvac® needed each year?

The vaccination is needed each year for optimal protection against influenza.

Annual vaccination for those in the risk groups is required because the influenza virus will vary each year. Therefore the immunity induced by previous vaccination will not give optimum protection to new virus strains.

Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends which antigens should be included in the influenza vaccines.

Influvac® and Imuvac® comply with the WHO recommendations.

Back to Top

14) Immunity

How soon after vaccination will protection against influenza be achieved?

Some antibodies will be produced after around 2 days, whilst protective antibody levels are achieved within 2-3 weeks. The duration of immunity varies but is usually 6-12 months. The ideal time for vaccination is between September and early November. Protection afforded by the vaccine is thought to last for at least one influenza season. However, as the level of protection provided in subsequent seasons is likely to reduce and there may be changes to the circulating strains from one season to the next, annual revaccination is important.1
Influenza-like symptoms can be caused by many respiratory infections (including the common cold) and Influvac® and Imuvac® will not prevent these.

Ref:1. Immunisation against infectious disease. Green Book. July 2014. Chapter 19. Influenza. Accessed August 2014.

Back to Top

15) Latex

Does Influvac® or Imuvac® contain latex?

Product:

Influvac® and Imuvac® are contained in pre-filled syringes that have a rubber component. This is made only from synthetic rubber, and not latex. The needle guard contains no latex. It is made from polypropylene mixed with 1-2% titanium oxide dye.

Production:

During production, contact with rubber may occur (e.g. rubber rings are used to close-off containers during production). Direct contact of our product should not occur, but cannot be excluded.

Ref:1. Data on file RM27495

Back to Top

16) Launch

When were Influvac® and Imuvac® first launched?

Influvac® was first launched in 1962.

Imuvac® was first launched in 2006.

Back to Top

17) What other vaccines are available from Abbott Healthcare Products Ltd?

Aside from Influvac® and Imuvac® no other vaccines are produced by Abbott Healthcare Products Ltd.

Back to Top

18) Pregnancy

The pregnancy section in the UK SPC has been updated, section 4.6 states:

“Inactivated influenza vaccines can be used in all stages of pregnancy. Larger datasets on safety are available for the second and third trimester, compared with the first trimester; however, data from worldwide use of influenza vaccine do not indicate any adverse foetal and maternal outcomes attributable to the vaccine”. The Influvac®/Imuvac® SPCs state that its use should be based on official recommendations. (section 4.1)1

UK Recommendations
The latest advice from the Department of Health UK is provided below:
The Department of Health (Green Book) recommendation2, for influenza immunisation in pregnant women, is that ‘pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy (first, second or third trimesters), should be vaccinated.’

A review of studies on the safety of influenza vaccine in pregnancy concluded that inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine can be safely and effectively administered during any trimester of pregnancy and that no study to date has demonstrated an increased risk of either maternal complications or adverse foetal outcomes associated with inactivated influenza vaccine.2

Refs:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk) 2. Immunisation against infectious disease. Green Book. July 2014. Chapter 19. Influenza. Accessed August 2014

Back to Top

19) Storage And Stability

How should Influvac® or Imuvac® be stored?

The optimum temperature for storage is between 2-8oC, for a period no longer than twelve months.

Storage out of the fridge

Influvac® and Imuvac® should always be stored at 2-8oC, but in the event of accidental storage at higher temperatures, please contact the Abbott Customer Care Centre on 0800 358 7468.

Storage below 2oC

In the event of accidental storage below 2oC, please contact the Abbott Customer Care Centre on 0800 358 7468.

The vaccines should not be frozen.
Protect from light.

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top

20) Subunit Vaccine

What is meant by a subunit vaccine?

The different types of inactivated influenza vaccine are as follows:

  • Whole Virus Vaccines: The whole virus is used to induce immunity
  • Split-Virion Vaccines: The protein coat of the virus is split away from the virus core and is used to induce immunity
  • Sub-Unit Vaccines: The protein coat is further broken down and only the 'H' and 'N' antigens are used.

Ref:1. Ellebedy AH. Vaccine 2009;27: D65-D68

Back to Top

21) Vaccine Strains

Influvac® and Imuvac® contain appropriate quantities of the A and B virus strains that are recommended by the WHO. These strains vary from year to year. The strains that are present in Influvac® and Imuvac® for the 2014/2015 season will be:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Texas/50/2012 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus

Ref:1. WHO

Back to Top

22) Influvac® and Imuvac® and Thiomersal

Influvac® and Imuvac® are thiomersal free.

Ref:1. Influvac® and Imuvac® SPCs (www.medicines.org.uk)

Back to Top