Insights for the 2016-17 Flu Season

January 2017

HIDA Government Affairs Update

By Linda Rouse O'Neill
Vice President, Government Affairs

This year’s flu season is already shaping up to be markedly different from last year’s in a few key ways. Notably, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended against nasal spray vaccines. Changes like these will likely be top-of-mind for your customers as the flu season progresses.

To help you with your provider conversations, HIDA has released its 2016 Influenza Vaccine Production & Distribution Market Brief. Beyond highlighting the CDC’s recommendation, the report contains projections for this year’s season, insights from distributors, and a look at data from last year’s flu season. Here are a few important insights from the report:

  • CDC sees no statistically significant evidence nasal spray vaccine offers immunity. The CDC based its recommendation on data from the last three flu seasons. Manufacturers dispute these findings, saying they are at odds with their own research. Despite the CDC’s recommendation, the Food and Drug Administration maintains its approval of the FluMist Quadrivalent vaccine. MedImmune was expected to manufacture at least 14 million doses of the vaccine – or about 8 percent of total flu vaccine production. At the time of the survey, distributors reported a 44 percent decrease in planned distribution of nasal spray vaccines, though the CDC recommendation may cause a further decline.
  • Manufacturers predict a spike in vaccine production. Manufacturers predict between 157 and 168 million doses of injectable vaccine will be distributed this season, up from about 146.6 million last year. Manufacturers had expected to produce 174.5 million doses of these vaccines for last year’s flu season.
  • Physician offices remain the top vaccination site. Nearly 33 percent of adults and 63.7 percent of children received their influenza vaccinations in physician offices last year, according to CDC data. For adults, pharmacies and stores came in second (24.8 percent), followed by the workplace (18.1 percent). Meanwhile, approximately 19 percent of children received their vaccination at a clinic, health center, or other medical site, while 6.2 percent received it at school. These figures are broadly in line with last year’s.
  • CMS continues to require providers to track influenza immunization. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to expand influenza immunization quality reporting requirements for providers. Customers who fail to report these and other measures could see their Medicare payments reduced.
  • Distributors continue to play a vital role in serving clinical professionals. In addition to a robust flu vaccine supply, distributors plan to bring a full line of essential medical products to providers throughout the current flu season, according to HIDA’s Flu Products Survey. More than 60 percent of distributors report they will carry diagnostic flu tests, hypodermic supplies, gloves, wound care equipment, disinfectant products, and much more. Additionally, distributors were responsible for delivering more than half of the gloves and 31 percent of skin care products sold during the 2015 flu season.

The insights contained in this year’s report cover demand trends and useful customer information. HIDA will continue to monitor vaccine and medical product demand as part of its broad efforts to strengthen the healthcare supply chain and foster effective responses to infectious disease.

To download your copy of the flu report, visit And feel free to contact us at if you have any questions or would like more information.