FDA Sanctions Enhanced Flu Vaccine

January 26, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. sanction / sæŋk ʃən / (v.) – to authorize
Example: The company does not sanction the use of social media in the office during work hours.

2. augment / ɔgˈmɛnt / (v.) – to improve or strengthen
Example: Some drugs can augment a person’s health.

3. synthesize / sɪn θəˌsaɪz / (v.) – to form by combining two parts
Example: The scientists synthesized a new material for use in dangerous environments.

4. reservation /ˌrɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən / (n.) – feelings of doubt and uncertainty
Example: I have reservations about the success of our experiment.

5. commensurate / kəˈmɛn sər ɪt / (adj.) – equivalent or proportionate
Example: Your pay should be commensurate to your skill level.


Read the text below.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sanctioned an enhanced flu vaccine that will hopefully be more effective in protecting older people.

Fluad, as the vaccine is called, is the first seasonal flu vaccine to contain an adjuvant, a compound meant to augment the response of a vaccinated person's immune system. In particular, it contains the adjuvant MF59, an oil-in-water mixture of squalene oil, which is a substance naturally found in humans, animals, and plants.

The vaccine was designed to give people 65 years old and above an alternative means of defending themselves against influenza. It was synthesized by Seqirus, a company under drug manufacturer CSL.

Because around 4,000 to 49,000 people, most of whom are over the age of 65, die from flu every year, there is a clear necessity for flu vaccines. However, since most Americans have reservations about vaccines in general, the FDA put Fluad through tests to evaluate both its effectiveness against the flu and its safety.

In a test involving 7,082 individuals 65 years old and above, Fluad was demonstrated to be commensurate with Agriflu, an FDA-authorized seasonal flu vaccine without any adjuvant, in boosting antibody levels. In another test involving 27,000 individuals from the same age group, Fluad was proven to cause no serious safety concerns.

Outside the United States, Fluad has been distributed in over 30 countries since 1997. It will be available in the US this year.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What age groups usually get sick with flu in your country? Why?
·         Are flu vaccinations common in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How does your country’s government monitor the quality of drugs and vaccines?
·         Who has the bigger responsibility to test new drugs prior to release—the drug company or the government? Justify your answer. 

January 26, 2016