Nasal Vaccine Set to Take on Flu Shot
Washington Post; E1
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve a nasal influenza vaccine by the end of June, which would make it available for the next flu season. The vaccine is called FluMist, and manufacturer MedImmune says that it could increase the number of people seeking immunization since many fear needles. The nasal vaccine uses a diluted live virus instead of the killed virus of the injectable vaccine; and because that weakened virus could be a risk to those with weakened immune systems, FluMist will probably only be approved for healthy people between five and 49 years of age. However, this excludes the groups most likely to get vaccinated for flu, and while MedImmune intends to seek further approvals, doing so will probably take a couple of years. FluMist's price is expected to be at least $30 per dose, which is more than double that of a flu shot, and the company says it can only produce 6 million doses at most for the first flu season due to manufacturing limitations. MedImmune adds that most of the doses will be given by medical personnel, and it is not yet clear whether the nasal vaccine can be self-administered.