Don't like flu shots? FDA approves nasal mist for some

| Thursday, June 19, 2003

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration OK’d a flu vaccine called FluMist. For people who shy from the needle, this vaccine is delivered by a squirt up the nose instead.

FDA says FluMist is not for everyone. While approved for healthy people age 5 to 49, it's not proven to be effective for toddlers, elderly people or others with medical conditions or compromised immune systems. Studies showed FluMist did not provide the same flu protection for adults from 50 to 64 as vaccinations. For adults from 18 to 49, the studies suggested FluMist reduced severe illness.

FluMist contains each of the three influenza live virus strains expected to be active during the 2003-2004 flu season. These include two types of influenza A, which causes severe illness, and one type of influenza B, which causes a milder form of the disease. The live virus in the vaccine has been weakened so that it produces immunity without causing illness.

FluMist is manufactured by MedImmune Vaccines Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md. A company spokesperson said the vaccine would be available by October at a cost of about $46 a dose.

FluMist is also not recommended for people who are allergic to eggs or who have demonstrated an earlier allergic reaction to flu vaccine.

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