Courtesy of MCT.
While the concept of a needle-free vaccine sounds like a great alternative to a sterile needle and syringe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended that people don’t receive the influenza vaccine via jet injector.
The jet injector vaccine features a high pressured stream that enters through the skin, rather than a needle, to administer the inactivated flu virus. On Oct. 26, the FDA ruled this method ineffective in preventing the flu, according to its website.
Dr. Madhuri Sopirala, an infectious disease specialist at Ohio State Medical Center, said the FDA did not have sufficient information about the jet injector for the flu vaccine to approve it in time for this flu season.
“(The FDA) did not have enough data submitted to them about the effectiveness, as some clinical studies were not submitted to them. They need the data to support the use of the vaccine in the future,” Sopirala said.
Major retailers, such as Kroger and Giant Eagle, discontinued the jet injector method shortly after the warning was issued, according to their spokesmen. Instead, they still offer the needle injection and the nasal spray, which are the only two approved methods for flu vaccination.
Sopirala explained that it is important for people to get the flu shot.
“Definitely get the flu shot because it does protect them from the most common viruses that cause the flu,” Sopirala said. “Let’s say they get a different strain (of the flu virus), it’s proven that the reality of their symptoms will not be as severe.”
Jaren Hershey, a first-year in biology, agreed the vaccine is important but other practices need to be followed.
“I think people should get the flu shot because they’ve been proven effective since we’ve started using them,” Hershey said. “But to keep the flu away, in general, you just need to keep hygienic.”
Eleana Jenkins, a third-year in hospitality management, said people should get the flu shot as a precautionary measure so their schoolwork is not affected.
“I know plenty of times that I’ve gotten the flu shot and I was safe from getting the flu while other people were missing classes and assignments,” Jenkins said.
People are wondering what they should do if they already received the jet injector vaccination prior to its discontinuance.
“Based on limited information from recent publications using currently licensed inactivated influenza vaccines, FDA and CDC (the Centers for Disease Control) believe that people who got their influenza vaccine via jet injector do not need to be re-vaccinated,” according to the FDA website.
Sopirala agreed with this recommendation and insisted that all people, whether they received the flu vaccine or not, must take precautions to keep themselves healthy.
“It’s necessary for them to be washing their hands before they touch their eyes, face, nose and mouth with soap and water. Cover your cough and take cough medicine. Stay home if you’re not feeling well to protect others,” Sopirala said.
Jenkins said that vitamin C is among many things that can also help to stay healthy during flu season.
“Especially when I know it’s coming time when I can get sick, I drink a lot of orange juice and fluids,” Jenkins said. “I always make sure I’m having what I need that’s healthy ahead of time so I’m not getting sick.”
The jet injector itself is approved for another vaccine, just not for the flu.
“Currently, there is only one vaccine, Measles, Mumps and Rubella, that is approved and specifically labeled for administration by jet injector,” according to the FDA website.