Flu Season Highlights Importance of a Robust Vaccine Portfolio

Flu season is here and hitting hard. Healthcare providers can help by stocking ample doses of flu vaccines to vaccinate patients.

Flu season is here and hitting hard. Healthcare providers can help by stocking ample doses of flu vaccines to vaccinate patients.

Although seasonal influenza activity remains elevated nationally, vaccination can still help this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months or older be vaccinated as long as influenza viruses spread, which could be a little longer.

Flu season starts in October and runs through May. As of March 1, 2024, there had been at least 26 million illnesses, 290,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths from flu so far this season, the CDC estimated.

Ensuring a steady supply of flu vaccine is essential to preventing illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. Premier does its part by helping hospitals and health systems stock doses of vaccines for flu clinics or other preventative public health efforts.

Vaccines Prevent a Variety of Illnesses

Not only do vaccines reduce the risks of seasonal illnesses like the flu, but they also can prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier leaders raised the alarm over vaccination challenges that slowed the nation’s response to the deadly disease.

In a letter to then President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, Premier leaders wrote that vaccinating people more quickly would slow the spread of COVID-19. They also noted that while Premier was keeping designated vaccination hubs adequately supplied, federal help was needed to overcome supply shortages elsewhere.

Given vaccines’ versatility, a diverse and reliable vaccine portfolio is vital for healthcare institutions. Premier clients can build such portfolios efficiently through group purchasing.

Comprehensive Vaccine Portfolio

Premier’s vaccine portfolio includes adult, adolescent, pediatric and travel vaccines. Members are encouraged to standardize vaccines to achieve top-tier pricing across supplier vaccine offerings.

Premier contracts with the following flu vaccine manufacturers:


AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-focused pharmaceutical company. Its Research and Development and Commercial functions accelerate decision-making and new medicine launches in oncology, biopharmaceuticals and rare disease therapy.


GSK is a focused biopharma company striving to unite science, technology and talent to get ahead of disease together. Its research and development (R&D) approach focuses on therapies for infectious diseases, HIV, immunology/respiratory and oncology.


Sanofi is an innovative global healthcare company whose therapeutic focus areas include immunology and inflammation, neurology, oncology, rare blood disorders, rare diseases and vaccines.

CSL Seqirus

CSL Seqirus envisions a world protected from influenza. Its expertise includes influenza vaccines, pandemic response, in-licensing, and antivenoms and Q fever vaccine.

Trivalent Influenza Vaccines

In September 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised a reversion to trivalent (three-strain) influenza vaccines for the 2024 southern hemisphere influenza season, which will begin around April and last until September. The WHO advisers recommended switching back to trivalent flu vaccines from a quadrivalent flu vaccination that included two influenza B lineages—Victoria and Yamagata.

The WHO recommended removing the Yamagata influenza B strain because it has not been detected since March 2020. It now recommends trivalent (three-strain) vaccines that include two influenza A strains plus just the influenza B Victoria vaccine strain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has similarly recommended using trivalent influenza vaccines for the 2024-2025 U.S. influenza season.

National vaccine regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies develop, produce and license influenza vaccines for the following influenza season based on WHO recommendations. All of Premier’s contracted flu vaccine manufacturers have indicated they will move from quadrivalent to trivalent preparations for the 2024-2025 flu season.

Stable and Efficient Vaccine Supply Chain

According to a National Academies for Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on vaccine distribution and supply chains, global preparedness is crucial for preventing the spread of influenza viruses, both seasonal and pandemic. As an example, in the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced actions to bolster the medical supply chain to ensure that Americans always have essential medicines, such as the influenza vaccine.

Premier offers vaccine procurement opportunities through several distributors and wholesalers, including:

Cardinal Health

Cardinal Health is a global manufacturer and distributor of medical and laboratory products. Its Flu Vaccine Program is designed to meet the unique needs of hospitals, retail pharmacies, physician offices, community health centers and other sites of care.

FFF Enterprises

FFF Enterprises is a supplier of critical-care biopharmaceuticals, plasma products and vaccines. Its are approved for annual use in people older than six months, including healthy people and those with chronic medical conditions.

Henry Schein Medical

Henry Schein Medical provides medical supplies, equipment and services, including integrated technology solutions, supply-chain and e-commerce systems, electronic health records, practice management software, and a range of financial services and other business solutions.

Prodigy Health

Prodigy Health is a national specialty drug distributor that connects hospital groups and individual facilities to the products they need through On Demand Consignment, Same Day Delivery and 503B Outsource Services.

Ensuring Access to Vaccines

Flu vaccines are updated annually to include the most common viruses for the upcoming season. During the 2023-204 flu season, vaccine manufacturers will supply the U.S. with 156.2 million to 170 million doses of the latest influenza vaccines.

Premier helps healthcare providers obtain the vaccine doses they need to keep patients healthy. Premier’s vaccine portfolio and expanded network of distributors serve as collaborative solutions for healthcare providers. For example, pharmacy partners get access to negotiated pricing, critical drugs in shortage, real-time surveillance and reporting to support clinical initiatives.

Premier helps healthcare providers vaccinate more patients as well. For example, Premier health system members have demonstrated the benefits of vaccinating adults over the age of 50 and higher-risk patients. In doing so, together with Premier, they also helped researchers identify ways to improve flu vaccination rates for older and higher-risk patients.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier worked with manufacturers and its distribution partner to deliver back-ordered drugs to members faster. They did so by removing products from traditional wholesale allocations and earmarking them for purchase by members instead. These unique partnerships sped delivery based on clinical need, rather than purchase history.

More recently, Premier awarded a group purchasing contract to TruMed® Systems, establishing the fast-growing medication, vaccine and inventory management solution company as a key supplier. The agreement allows Premier members take advantage of special pricing and terms pre-negotiated by Premier for TruMed’s automated vaccine storage and inventory management solutions.

TruMed’s AccuVax® Vaccine Management system provides Premier members the benefits of an automated, all-in-one medication and vaccine storage and handling solution. Premier members also have access to TruMed’s AccuShelf® Inventory Management System, which uses a scanner-based system to help medical staff easily track medication, supplies and equipment.

Helping Patients

Flu season may highlight the importance of vaccines, but the need for vaccines does not end when flu season does. Influenza vaccines are just one type of vaccination.

Vaccinations also protect against infections like shingles, human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, vaccine-preventable diseases cost Americans $10 billion per year. Furthermore, before the COVID-19 pandemic, 50,000 U.S. adults died from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.

A comprehensive vaccine strategy and efficient distribution network help advance healthcare solutions that greatly improve the health of more people.

Premier is committed to helping healthcare providers help patients by providing cutting-edge solutions for its members. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your healthcare facility keep patients healthy with vaccines.