Provincial Study of FluMist® Vaccine Conducted In Peterborough Shows Promising Results  

Written by admin, December 16, 2014

Screen Shot 12-16-14 at 08.57 AMDecember 16, 2014 – A provincial study conducted in Peterborough last year showed that a nasal spray version of the influenza vaccine called FluMist was effective and preferred by children over the injected version.

“Our research demonstrated that offering FluMist increased vaccine uptake among children and seemed to reduce their anxiety about getting immunized,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health for Peterborough Public Health and one of the study’s authors.  “Thanks to the support of Peterborough schools and students who volunteered for this study, we could see FluMist added into the pool of publicly-funded vaccines for Ontario.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that other provinces already offer FluMist for free as a way to increase the number of children who get vaccinated.  School age children are known to drive influenza epidemics. This study explored the hypothesis that vaccinating children through schools may improve societal influenza control by reducing vaccine accessibility barriers.

Ten local schools with a total of 2,852 students were recruited for the study.  Five schools were randomly assigned to receive the injected version of the influenza vaccine, and five schools were assigned to receive FluMist.  School-based immunization clinics were held from November 11-22, 2013, and the vaccine uptake for schools where FluMist was offered was 19.3%, compared to 12.2% where the vaccine was provided using a needle.

Parents surveyed by the researchers cited convenience as the top reason they chose to have their child vaccinated at school.  Principals thought clinics ran smoothly with little disruption to school routines. Most principals agreed that school-based influenza immunization is a good idea and should continue, with the option of vaccinating staff as well.

Currently, parents can request a prescription for the FluMist vaccine from their healthcare provider, however it will cost approximately $30 per dose.

Results of the study were shared publicly for the first time at the Canadian Immunization Conference that ran in Ottawa from December 2-4, 2014.  The study was conducted in partnership with Public Health Ontario, Peterborough Public Health and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research Influenza Research Network.

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Brittany Cadence
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