Are needles deterring you from getting that annual flu shot? They might not be for long now that you can just squirt them up your nose. Thanks to the power of research, the idea of DIY vaccinations isn’t too far away, according to a new study by the U.S. Military Vaccine Agency. So get ready to for some self-administering of a pre-approved vaccine.
Well, not quite. While research shows that military folk who ingested a flu vaccine through their nasal cavities were just as well-protected as those who got it from health workers, to date only the latter group is legally allowed to administer the nasal shot. And in case you haven’t heard, there is a nasal shot, and its popularity is growing. FluMist, which is the only brand currently on the market and must be administered by a health care worker, is on the rise in North America. Especially since it seems to be the easiest way for children ages two to eight to get the vaccination. In some cases there have even been reports of shortages, and it isn’t covered by all provinces here in Canada, despite being approved in 2010.
Should the treatment eventually be sold over-the-counter, would parents really be more likely to “shoot up” their kids at home? Probably, given the hassle of getting to the doctor’s office or a walk-in clinic. They might give themselves a boost while they’re at it, since the formula is approved for adults up to 49 years-old. For now, it has only been tested on roughly 1,000 service members in the States and their families; not nearly enough of a sample size for the vaccination to come to market yet.
Getting a flu shot is also more complicated for children under the age of eight, since their first vaccine needs to be administered in two separate doses, four weeks apart. That’s when the guidance of a health professional certainly comes in handy. Plus, children are notorious for stuffy, snotty noses, something that could potentially block absorption if parents aren’t paying proper attention.
Still, the results are promising. Blood tests among those who did self-administer had the same immune responses in blood tests as participants in other groups. The next steps? A larger sample size that would show if a variety of groups — including children, would be affected the same way.