A nasal flu vaccine is being recommended by experts as an effective and pain-free way of protecting children from the flu.
FluMist, a vaccine that is sprayed into the nose, is one way of avoiding the pain and stress of an injection. "I would personally prefer that for my kids, because then they don't have to endure the pain of the flu shot — and the anticipation and the anxiety that goes along with it," Ly Ying Ho, a Toronto mother, told CBC News.
Based on its high efficacy in two- to 17-year-olds, the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations is recommending the nasal vaccine over traditional injections. Dr. Steven Moss, a pediatrician in Toronto, agrees.
"There's 50 per cent better efficacy for two and 17-year-olds for getting the inter-nasal version versus getting the inter-muscular version," he said. The only difference is that the nasal vaccine injects a live virus rather than a dead one into the body.
Despite the endorsement, some find administration of the vaccine trickier.
"For me, a needle is easier," said Brenda Nguyen, who manages a doctor’s clinic in Toronto. "You just have to hold their arm and that's it. But the other one you have to put into their nose and actually spray them and they have to inhale it for it to actually go inside. And they don't do that."
Moss wants the nasal vaccine covered under provincial health-care plans. Currently it’s an out-of-pocket expense of $25 though some provinces are reviewing it for public flu clinics.
Alberta is doing a pilot project on 2,000 people to test whether the mist could work at public flu clinics.