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Sandra Yi ReportingIf a fear of needles keeps you from getting a flu shot each year we have some good news. A friendlier alternative to the vaccine is now available, just in time for this year's flu season.
It may not feel like it now, but flu season is around the corner, only a couple of months away. And now, for the first time, there's a new, needle free vaccine that could protect you from the flu virus.
The medical staff at Cottonwood Pediatrics is ready for the upcoming flu season. Already, there are 20 doses of the new FluMist vaccine in storage.
Jolynne Difrancesco, Clinical Specialist, Cottonwood Pediatrics: "With the first season of it being out, we brought in a small amount of doses to have on hand for the parents that did want it."
Here's how FluMist works. Instead of giving you a shot in the arm, doctors spray a fine mist into your nose.
Brian Burnes, Flu Spray Patient: “ Shots really hurt me, but when they spray me, they didn’t hurt.”
Brian Burnes participated in a clinical trial earlier this year. Since then, the FDA has approved FluMist, but it's only for healthy adults and kids between 5 and 49 years old.
Jolynne Difrancesco, Clinical Specialist, Cottonwood Pediatrics: "There's going to be a little bit of a dilemma with that just because typically the population we vaccinate are those that are at risk that have asthma or heart disease or have a higher risk of picking up the flu."
Difrancesco says the spray may appeal to adults who are afraid of needles and parents whose kids are anxious about the pain. FluMist, she says, is also more effective than the injection. Researchers hope the spray will encourage more people to protect themselves from influenza. The virus infects 17 to 50 million people in the US each year.
Dr. Robert Belshe, FluMist Researcher: "Millions of children miss school because of influenza and that means their parents have to stay home and take care of them, so they miss work. It's an important economic disease. It's an important disease for the health and well being of children and adults."
FluMist is more expensive than a flu shot. It costs about $65 and because it's so new, it may not be covered by insurance. Children between 5 and 8 will need two doses. If you're interested, you should talk to your doctor for more information.