Scott Co. Public Health has FluMist vaccine available

Scott County Public Health has obtained a supply of FluMist, the nasal spray live attenuated influenza vaccine.

FluMist is licensed only for people between the ages of 5 and 49 years who are in good health and who are not pregnant. Because of the shortage of injectable vaccine to protect the elderly and those with health problems, FluMist is being encouraged for the following two high risk groups who are in good health and meet the age criteria: health care workers who have direct face-to-face contact with persons in the high risk group, and household members or out of home care providers of infants less than six months old.

FluMist will be available at the Public Health office in the Shakopee Workforce Center, 792 Canterbury Road South from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 28, Monday, Nov. 1, and Friday, Nov. 5.

FluMist is a live attentuated influenza vaccine, meaning the influenza viruses used to make FluMist have been weakened so they cannot grow well in human tissue. Six parts of the genetic material used to make the vaccine have ben modified. In order for the vaccine to become as strong as the wild influenza virus, all six of these components would have to change. The vaccine is “cold adapted” which means the vaccine grows well in the nose and throat which are cooler, but once the virus reaches the lower respiratory tract the warm temperature destroys the virus. That means that the vaccine, unlike influenza virus, cannot cause disease.

The only instance in which health people are not recommended to receive FluMist would be health care workers who care for persons in protective isolation such as bone marrow transplant patients. FluMist can be used for contacts of persons who have HIV/AIDS, who are on chemotherapy, or who have weakened immune systems. This is because the vaccine uses a weakened virus that doesn’t contain a viral dose big enough to cause disease and the virus is killed in the lower respiratory tract.

Studies have found that person-to-person transmission of influenza from persons who have been vaccinated with FluMist is very rare. Although a person can shed viral particles following vaccination, there are not enough particles shed to make a person ill.

Side effects can include runny nose, headache, vomiting, muscle aches,and fever although fever is not a common side effect in adults. These side effects were reported in 10 to 40 percent of both people who received the nasal spray and people who received a placebo.

For more information on FluMist and the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations on its use, see www.mdhflu.com and scroll down to the section “Health Professional Influenza Update”.

Contact Scott County Public Health at 952-496-8555 for more information.

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