Nasal mist flu vaccine launched in Canada
Published Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:24PM EDT
A nasal mist flu vaccine was launched in Canada on Thursday, giving an alternative to those who get squeamish by the very idea of a needle.
The nasal mist has been available in the United States for seven years, and now will be available without a prescription in pharmacies.
Dr. Earl Rubin, director of McGill Pediatric Infectious Diseases Residency Program, has been going to the U.S. for the last five years to get the vaccines for his children, who are deathly afraid of needles.
But he says the less intrusive nasal vaccine has other benefits as well.
"Studies have shown that the intra nasal live attenuated vaccine is more effective in children than the traditional intramuscular or killed vaccine," Rubin told CTV Montreal's Cindy Sherwin.
There are also fewer side effects associated with the nasal vaccine, though some flu symptoms can occur after inhaling it.
But there are drawbacks as well, as it is limited to people between the age of two and 59 and is not recommended for pregnant women or asthmatics.
The vaccine doesn't appear to be very widely available as of yet in Montreal.
"We haven't had much information about it unfortunately," said pharmacist Larissa Feldman.
And in any case, even if it will be available without a prescription, it is not necessarily recommended that people administer the vaccine themselves.
"It will be available in pharmacies without a prescription, which makes it easier to get than your regular vaccine," Rubin said. "But that hurdle is that it really has to be a health professional that has to administer it."
Then there's the price.
One pharmacy that planned on offering the vaccine said the price will be $123.