Posted Monday, August 13, 2012 --- 3:25 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the new flu vaccine for the season beginning this year.
Each year the FDA works with other federal agencies and global health experts to design a vaccine to protect against the three viral strains most likely to cause the flu. This year's vaccine has one strain in common with last year's vaccine, plus two new viral strains.
The vaccine will be manufactured by six companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Novartis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year, leading to 200,000 hospitalizations. Flu-related deaths vary each year and can range from 3,000 to 49,000.
The CDC recommends that everyone older than six months receive an annual flu vaccine.
Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.