Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Do-it-Yourself Flu Vaccine?

With flu season coming up, I'm sure we have all seen the advertisements and been told to get our flu shots immediately. But what if instead of having to go to a facility where a health professional administers the vaccine, we could simply do it ourselves in the comfort of our home? A study conducted the past two years on more than 1,000 service members and their families at military hospitals in San Diego and San Antonio found that those who administered the nasal spray vaccine themselves were as well protected as those who received the vaccine from health workers. This is promising data as in an emergency such as an epidemic where they may not be enough health workers to administer vaccines, civilians would be able to administer the vaccines to themselves. On a smaller scale, this would also be an alternative for kids who would feel more comfortable if their parents administered the vaccine rather than a health professional they are uncomfortable with. The nasal vaccine would be the easiest method for do-it-yourself vaccination as the vaccine comes in a pre-filled syringe with a stopper that allows for two doses, one in each nostril.
Although the results of this study were promising, this does not mean flu vaccines will soon be available to do-it-yourself. Another study would have be done to ensure that a do-it-yourself flu vaccine can be safe, effacious, and acceptable especially for children. For children, it is especially complicated because for those aged 6 months to 8 years, they require two doses at least four weeks apart which may be hard to keep track of in a do-it-yourself situation. In addition, there needs to be assurance that the vaccine would be administer properly such as not given when one is sick or given correctly all the way up the nostril.
-Theresa Asuquo

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