Although the U.S. had one of its mildest flu seasons in 2020-2021, flu vaccine distributors and manufacturers were not negatively affected during that period. Their sales were locked in before anyone knew there would be a global Covid-19 pandemic.
The companies have noted softer sales so far this year, however. And because of the way their distribution systems are set up, there might be fewer shots available for the upcoming flu season. That, coupled with relaxed mask wearing and increased travel, could lead to bad outcomes once the season hits.
At the start of last year, many distributors had a bumper “prebooking” period, in which orders were placed for the upcoming season, said Michael Einhorn, president of Dealmed, a Brooklyn-based distributor of medical supplies and vaccines. Distributors prebook partly based on their sales the season before, then manufacturers produce a specific number of doses, he said.
Seqirus, a vaccine manufacturer