New Flu Vaccine, for Your Nose?

By: Daniel K. Hoh
By: Daniel K. Hoh

It's not quite time yet to get your flu shot, but here's something to think about. Your annual vaccination for the viral bug may not have to be a shot anymore.

It's called Flu-Mist and it's the first intra-nasal vaccine for the common winter illness. Approved by the FDA in June, Flu-Mist is sprayed into the nose and will be available through the Barren River District Health Department's flu clinics later this year.

"It's a live, attenuated vaccine, which means that it's a live virus that has been weakened," says Gina Reid, RN of the health department.

The regular flu shot consists of inactivated virus. Since Flu-Mist is made of live virus, it can only be given to people ages 5 to 49 who don't have asthma, weakened immune systems, or close contact with those who do have weakened immune systems.

If you're thinking about this new vaccine for you or your child, be prepared to spend extra money to get it.

"It will be a cost of $55 for Flu-Mist. The regular flu shots are $15," according to Reid.

Medicaid and Medicare won't cover Flu-Mist this year, but some private insurance companies said they will. Although Flu-Mist is easier to give and won't cause crying mouths or sore shoulders, it must still be administered by medical personnel.

The health department will begin its flu clinics in mid-October. For Warren and Barron County, they will offer both Flu-Mist and the regular flu shot.

For more information, visit the vaccine's official website at www.flumist.com.


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