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Next season, you may be able to take your flu vaccine at home

By Meg Tirrell | CNN

The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing an application for the nasal spray flu vaccine FluMist to be able to be self-administered at home, drugmaker AstraZeneca said Tuesday.

The vaccine, the only nasal spray option against flu, has been on the market in the United States since 2003. AstraZeneca has asked the FDA to allow adults ages 18 to 49 to be able to give themselves the vaccine, or to give it to children as young as age 2, citing a “usability study” showing people can do it properly without a health care provider present. If approved, it would be the first flu vaccine cleared for self-administration.

Patients would still need to go through an online pharmacy system to order the vaccine, which would then be shipped to their home in temperature-controlled packaging, AstraZeneca’s Dr. Lisa Glasser told CNN.

The hope is that a self-administered flu vaccine option could increase uptake; while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone age 6 months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine every year, fewer than half of Americans get vaccinated.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the pandemic is that actually people can do things for themselves, they can take maybe more responsibility for their own health care in their own hands than perhaps we realized or even thought possible,” Glasser, AstraZeneca’s head of US medical affairs, vaccines and immune therapies, said in an interview.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, she noted, “we put nasal swab tests in people’s hands and they used them successfully.”

The FDA is expected to make a decision about whether to clear FluMist for self-administration in the first three months of next year, AstraZeneca said. If the FDA OKs the change, AstraZeneca said FluMist would be available for self-administration in the 2024-2025 flu season. It would still be available through traditional channels as well, administered at the doctor’s office or pharmacy, Glasser said.

Physicians welcomed the news a flu vaccine could become more accessible, but didn’t expect a potential approval for self-administration would change vaccination rates significantly.

“If this would increase compliance, that would be fantastic,” Dr. Aaron Glatt, chief of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau, told CNN.

Documentation would be crucial, though, said Glatt, also a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America — so that patients don’t accidentally get the vaccine more than once, or say they received it without actually having had it.

Glasser said AstraZeneca will provide a way to make documentation “practical and helpful for not only for the patient, or the person, but also for their health care professionals,” though she said it was too early to provide details.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/10/24/next-season-you-may-be-able-to-take-your-flu-vaccine-at-home/ Next season, you may be able to take your flu vaccine at home

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