Flu season is here, and it’s time to make plans for your family to get vaccinated. However, getting a flu shot with a needle is not your only option when it comes to getting the flu vaccine this winter. The vaccine can be administered by other methods, depending on your age and health, which is especially good news for the millions of people who have trypanophobia – a fear of needles.
Thousands of people die or are hospitalized each flu season. Every year, new virus strains appear, and vaccines are developed to target those particular strains, which is why the flu vaccine is recommended every year. The flu vaccine provides the best protection and is an important step in preventing the spread of this disease. Despite the urging of health professionals, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that only 50 percent of Americans get vaccinated.
Before you decide which option is best for you and your family, take a look at these comparisons based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
|Option||Delivery Method||Recommended Ages||Type||Effectiveness||Contraindications|
|FLU SHOT||Needle, usually in the arm||Anyone over age 6 months||Inactive VirusMulti-dose vials contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative||Trivalent: protects against three virusesQuadrivalent: Protects against four viruses||Life-threatening allergiesAllergy to flu vaccineHistory of Guillain-Barre SyndromeNot feeling well|
|MIST (LAIV)||Nasal spray||Ages 2 to 49 years
CDC especially recommends for healthy children 2 to 8 years
Attenuated (weakened) virus
|Quadrivalent: Protects against four viruses||PregnancyWeakened immune systemAllergy to eggs|
|JET INJECTOR||High pressure stream of liquid (needle-free)||Ages 18 to 64 years||Inactive VirusContains thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative||Trivalent: Protects against three viruses||People with life-threatening allergiesAllergy to flu vaccineHistory of Guillain-Barre syndromePeople who are not feeling well|