A new study found that military personnel who were taught to give themselves nasal spray flu vaccinations had the same level of immunity as those who were given the vaccine by health professionals.
This is a huge step forward for MedImmune’s nasal spray vaccine, FluMist, which is the preferred method of vaccination for most healthy kids aged two to eight years. However, don’t expect to be giving it to your own child anytime soon. The nasal spray may be (relatively) easy to administer, but there are still some risk factors involved.
“It’s a very interesting concept and I can definitely see some benefits” says Dr. Jonathan Temte who heads a panel that advises the CDC on vaccine policy. “Before anyone could endorse this in children, one would have to have an appropriately designed study that shows equal efficacy, equal safety, and then the acceptability.”
In this case, safety is key. Self-vaccination with FluMist isn’t as easy as it sounds, and vaccinating children is more of a science than simply spraying something up their noses. While everyone over six months old should get a flu shot, according to the CDC, special vaccination guidelines apply to children when they receive their first vaccination, and medical history should always be reviewed before a vaccine is administered.
The nasal vaccine is also a little trickier to apply than a nasal spray you might be accustomed to using for allergies, for example. Health workers that administer the vaccine need to be sure that it has fully entered the nose and that children, and parents too, don’t squirt it out of their nose.
Whether self-vaccination will become something more common in the future is unknown due to regulatory guidelines and a lack of testing, and, as Dr. Temte put it, we are still a long way from anything definitive. However, the topic is certainly an interesting one.
So, we want to hear from you! Would you vaccinate yourself, or would you prefer the help of a professional? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you would choose to do!