Edmonton

Flu nasal spray vaccine now available to all Albertans

Good news for Albertans too squeamish to get a flu vaccination this fall.

Good news for Albertans too squeamish to get a flu vaccination this fall.

The province is making Flumist — the influenza vaccine in nasal spray form — available to all Albertans after initially being restricted to children.

The bad news is the move was prompted by the disappointing number of children vaccinated  during the month-long campaign and the fear the bulk of the vaccine may go to waste. 

The nasal spray product also has a shorter expiry date than the injectable influenza vaccines,  offered through the province’s annual influenza immunization program.

"We had expected there would be a higher demand for FluMist a month into our influenza immunization program," Dr. James Talbot, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said in a news release.

"However, as of early November we have only administered about 38,000 doses of a total 150,000 available doses of FluMist," he said.

"We want to make everyone aware of this option and encourage all Albertans to be immunized against influenza."

Health officials recommend all Albertans get immunized, but especially those at high risk for complications related to influenza such as children between the ages of six and 23 months, anyone over 65 years of age, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic medical conditions, including severe obesity.