Actor James Van Der Beek and AstraZeneca Join Forces to Educate Families about Influenza


The makers of FluMist® Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal) and the "CSI: Cyber" star launch national campaign to dispel common misconceptions about flu and annual vaccination

WILMINGTON, Del., Sept. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- AstraZeneca announced today that it has collaborated with actor and father James Van Der Beek on a campaign to dispel common myths about the flu and underscore the importance of annual influenza vaccination for eligible individuals and families. As part of the campaign, Van Der Beek stars in an informative and comedic video, called "Just the Flu Facts," in which he uses his signature sense of humor to debunk common misconceptions about seasonal influenza that are often barriers to vaccination.

To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

James Van Der Beek receives FluMist Quadrivalent® (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal)

"As parents of three young children, my wife and I do everything we can to keep our family healthy," Van Der Beek said. "As health-conscious as I am, I was surprised to learn that even I had been subscribing to many commonly-held beliefs about the flu that are actually myths. Because influenza can have a serious impact on the entire family, I felt it was important to help people separate flu fact from fiction."

Among the most common myths, many people believe that the flu is not a serious disease and is comparable to the common cold. In reality, influenza is a contagious disease that can potentially lead to serious complications and hospitalizations.

"Influenza can result in 200,000 hospitalizations each year in the U.S. and flu results in more pediatric hospitalizations than any other vaccine-preventable disease," said Dave Fredrickson, Vice President, Specialty Care, AstraZeneca. "As such and as part of AstraZeneca's commitment to putting patients first, we work closely with healthcare providers, retailers and the public health community to make FluMist Quadrivalent broadly accessible to consumers. Since 2003, our nasal-spray flu vaccine has been given to more than 75 million people to help prevent influenza."

FluMist Quadrivalent is the first and only needle-free, nasal-spray flu vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for eligible individuals ages 2 to 49 years of age that helps protect against the four flu strains contained in the vaccine: two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. The most common side effects of FluMist Quadrivalent are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fever over 100°F. Whereas the traditional flu shot contains killed viruses, FluMist Quadrivalent is a Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV), meaning it is comprised of weakened, live viruses. Contrary to popular belief, no form of the flu vaccine – nasal spray or shot – can cause the flu.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that annual vaccination is the best way to help prevent the flu each year," said Peter Lechman, MD, MBA, Medical Director, Northwestern Medical Group Pediatrics. "What many people don't realize is that, in addition to the traditional flu shot, FluMist Quadrivalent is a needle-free, nasal-spray flu vaccine that's administered as a gentle mist sprayed into the nose, where the influenza virus typically enters the body." 

Data show that LAIV is more effective than the shot in certain pediatric populations, and for this reason, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently named LAIV the preferred type of flu vaccine in those age groups. Please see the CDC's August 15th Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for complete details.

Not all influenza vaccines are approved for all persons, and individuals should speak with their doctor or pharmacist to determine if they are eligible to receive FluMist Quadrivalent. The most common side effects of FluMist Quadrivalent are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fever over 100°F.

"Together with our doctor, my wife and I decided that FluMist Quadrivalent was the right choice for us," said Van Der Beek. "I encourage all individuals and parents to talk to their healthcare provider about which flu vaccine is right for themselves and their family."

In addition to doctors' offices, people can get vaccinated with FluMist Quadrivalent at public health departments, schools, military bases, and select local and national retail pharmacies, including Rite Aid, Target, and Walgreens. To help consumers find where FluMist Quadrivalent is available in their area, AstraZeneca has created an online vaccine finder, available at

To view and share the "Just the Flu Facts" video, visit For more information about FluMist Quadrivalent, visit or follow @InsistOnTheMist on Twitter.

Important Safety and Eligibility Information

What is FluMist® Quadrivalent (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal)?
FluMist Quadrivalent is a vaccine that is sprayed into the nose to help protect against influenza. It can be used in children, adolescents, and adults ages 2 through 49. FluMist Quadrivalent is similar to MedImmune's trivalent Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal (FluMist), except FluMist Quadrivalent provides protection against an additional influenza strain. FluMist Quadrivalent may not prevent influenza in everyone who gets vaccinated.

Who should not get FluMist Quadrivalent?
You should not get FluMist Quadrivalent if you have a severe allergy to eggs; have ever had a life-threatening reaction to influenza vaccinations; or are 2 through 17 years old and take aspirin or medicines containing aspirin – children or adolescents should not be given aspirin for 4 weeks after getting FluMist Quadrivalent unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

Children under 2 years old have an increased risk of wheezing (difficulty with breathing) after getting FluMist Quadrivalent.

Who may not be able to get FluMist Quadrivalent?
Tell your healthcare provider if you or your child are currently wheezing; have a history of wheezing if under 5 years old; have had Guillain-Barre syndrome; have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has a severely weakened immune system; have problems with your heart, kidneys, or lungs; have diabetes; are pregnant or nursing; or are taking Tamiflu®, Relenza®, amantadine, or rimantadine.

Your healthcare provider will decide if FluMist Quadrivalent is right for you or your child.

What are the most common side effects of FluMist Quadrivalent?
The most common side effects are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fever over 100°F.

Please see accompanying complete Product Information, including Patient Information.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit


Media Inquiries
Melissa Garcia: 301-398-6470
Michele Meixell: 302-885-2677 


To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click:

SOURCE AstraZeneca