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Novartis announces flu vaccine shipping

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BASEL, Switzerland Novartis announced that it has begun shipping seven million doses of its influenza immunization drug Fluvirin. The goal of the company will be to make over 40 million doses of the drug available during the 2007-08 influenza season.

Over 200 million people each year are recommended to receive an influenza vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, "the best defense for people who want to reduce the risk of becoming ill with influenza, or of transmitting the disease to others, is to receive an annual vaccination."

The company is providing the vaccine "as early as possible," according to CEO of Novartis, Joerg Reinhardt, as a way of "contributing to ensure early immunization programs may be initiated nationwide." All doses of the vaccine are expected to be delivered by the end of October.

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