While there is a shortage of flu shots in some areas, there are reports of some people passing up the flu mist. University of Iowa infectious diseases specialist, Patricia Winokur, tests vaccines –including the H1N1– for the National Institutes of Health. She says there is reluctance by some people overall about the H1N1 vaccine.
Winokur says you add to that people have less experience with the nasal mist as she says it’s become much more accepted for use by kids than for adults. She says the overall concerns compounded with the nasal mist concerns have made people more reluctant about the H1N1 vaccine in general. Winokur says the nasal mist forms of flu vaccine are popular among parents.
She says a lot of parents actually like the nasal form of the vaccine because it exposes the kids to one less needle stick, and the kids like that. Winokaur says the adults reluctance to take the nasal flu mist has benefited kids. Winokur says there have been extra doses of the flu mist that adults aren’t interested in, and those are then given to children, so they don’t go to waste.
Winokur says even though the nasal flu mist vaccine is a live virus — it’s attenuated or incapacitated — so it lives only in the nose, but produces about the same immunity as the shot in the arm.
Winokur says a recent New England Journal of Medicine compared the two and found the mist was just “a bit little less effective” at preventing colds in people than the injectable form of the vaccine. She says this is just an early study and it has not been confirmed in other studies. Those who are eligible but passing up flu mist now may be gambling on avoiding the H1N1 virus until more injectable vaccine is available.