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FDA Approval of Nasal Vaccine for Flu Expected
New York Times; C1
Pollack, Andrew


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could soon make the prospect of getting vaccinated against influenza much more appealing, should it approve a technology that puts the vaccine into the body through the nose, rather than with a painful shot. In time, the ease and comfort of a nasal formulation of the vaccine--coupled with an advertising campaign that promotes awareness of the option--could make flu vaccinations much more common, reducing the number of hospitalizations and deaths that occur every year among people who avoid the vaccine because they dislike the shot. Still, experts say that the vaccine's makers, MedImmune and Wyeth, will have trouble selling the product because flu vaccine uptake is only between 10 percent and 20 percent among healthy people under the age of 50, and the vaccine, called FluMist, costs about two or three times the price of the injected vaccine, at between $30 and $40 per dose. The companies could benefit from the scare put into patients by sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), even though flu vaccines do not protect against the illness; the general public could turn its fear of sickness into an attempt to become protected against as many ailments as possible. [Flu vaccines will be even more important this season to reduce confusion between patients with flu versus SARS.]

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