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Schools offer free nasal flu immunization 

Nasal flu immunization. Photo from Walgreens.

Nasal flu immunization. Photo from Walgreens.

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department is holding three free flu immunization clinics for students and their families after school during conference week. The immunization comes in the form of a nasal spray. Students may go to any location regardless of their home school.

  • Tuesday, October 22 at Pat Butler from 12:30-2:30 p.m. – Parents must be present.
  • Wednesday, October 23 at the HS from 2:00-3:30 p.m. – Permission slips will be sent home with high school students so they can participate without parents present.
  • Thursday, October 24 at Georgia Brown from 12:30-2:30 – parents must be present.

 

Information on the nasal spray flu immunization from the Centers for Disease Control

What flu viruses does the nasal spray vaccine protect against?
All nasal spray vaccines for the 2013-14 season will provide protection against four flu viruses: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and two influenza B viruses.

Are any of the available flu vaccines recommended over the others?
CDC does not have a preference for which of the available flu vaccine options people should get this season. This includes deciding between trivalent or quadrivalent vaccine or between injection (the flu shot) or nasal spray vaccine. All are acceptable options, but some vaccines are intended for specific age groups. Talk to your doctor or nurse about the best options for you and your loved ones. The important thing is to get a flu vaccine every year.

Who can be vaccinated with the nasal spray flu vaccine?
The nasal spray is approved for use in healthy* people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Who should not be vaccinated with the nasal spray flu vaccine?

  • Children younger than 2 years
  • Adults 50 years and older
  • People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine or to a previous dose of any influenza vaccine
  • People with asthma
  • Children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment.
  • Children and adults who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular (except isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic/neuromuscular, hematologic, or metabolic disorders
  • Children and adults who have immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications or by HIV)
  • Pregnant women

How effective is the nasal spray seasonal flu vaccine?
Influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups. For more information about vaccine effectiveness, visit How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work? For information specific to this season, visit About the Current Flu Season.

Can people receiving the nasal spray flu vaccine pass the vaccine viruses to others?
Yes, but its rare. Data indicate that both children and adults vaccinated with nasal spray can shed vaccine viruses after vaccination, although in lower amounts than occur typically with shedding of wild-type influenza viruses. Rarely, shed vaccine viruses can be transmitted from vaccine recipients to unvaccinated persons. However, serious illnesses have not been reported among unvaccinated persons who have been infected inadvertently with vaccine viruses.

What side effects are associated with the nasal spray flu vaccine?
In children, side effects can include runny nose, headache, wheezing, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever. In adults, side effects can include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. Fever is not a common side effect in adults receiving the nasal spray flu vaccine.

When should the nasal spray flu vaccine be given?
Flu vaccination should begin soon after vaccine is available, ideally by October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time influenza activity peaks in January or later.

How often should the nasal spray flu vaccine be given?
One dose of LAIV should be given during each influenza season. Some children 6 months through 8 years of age require 2 doses of influenza vaccine and should receive the two doses at least 28 or more days apart. Your child’s health care provider can tell you whether two doses are recommended for your child.

Are there special vaccination instructions for children?
Some children 6 months through 8 years of age require 2 doses of influenza vaccine. Children in this age group who are getting vaccinated for the first time will need two doses. Some children who have received influenza vaccine previously will also need two doses. Your child’s health care provider can tell you whether two doses are recommended for your child. Children 6 months up to 2 years of age should only receive the flu shot (TIV).

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/nasalspray.htm

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.