New nasal spray flu vaccines, instead of jabs, are available

Chen Huizhi
Alternatives to influenza vaccine injections can be administered to adults and children three to 17 years old in a few Shanghai districts.
Chen Huizhi
Provided by Jiading District Media Center. Edited by Chen Huizhi. Subtitles by Chen Huizhi.

Nasal influenza vaccines are now available for the first time in community health service centers in several Shanghai districts.

The vaccines are applicable to children from three to 17 years old as an alternative to the traditional ones that are injected into the body through needles and syringes.

The vaccines are a kind of nasal spray that causes no physical pain to people. Each nostril takes 0.1 milliliters of the vaccines, and the vaccination process takes less than one minute.

After entering the human body through the nasal cavity, they first draw an immune response from the mucosa and then cells and body fluid by activating lymphocytes, experts said.

In Jiading District, four community health service centers and Yingyuan Hospital have opened bookings for taking such vaccines.

Since being offered in mid September, 130 people have received the vaccination and another 180 have made reservations, officials from Jiading District Health Commission said on Friday.

Chang Ruixuan, a 7-year-old girl, took the nasal vaccines at Yingyuan Hospital.

"I felt some cooling fluid in my nose and no pain at all," she said.

Chang's mother, who was accompanying her during the vaccination, said the nasal vaccines are preferable because children are often afraid of needles.

The nasal influenza vaccines cost 303.5 yuan (US$47) each. They're much more expensive than jabs which cost only 60 to some 150 yuan.

Jiading health officials said the new service has drawn a lot of interest, but so far only a few people have taken the vaccines, probably due to the price tag.

In the Pudong New Area, its health commission couldn't report the exact number of reservations for such vaccines, but said there were few.

Shen Hong, vice president of Yingyuan Hospital, said it's recommended that people take vaccines against influenza one to two months before the season kicks in to have higher immunity.

"The antibodies will be generated half a month after vaccination, and people who need to take other vaccines should wait till at least two weeks after," he said.

However, the nasal influenza vaccines are not applicable to everyone. They're not recommended to people who are: allergic to eggs or Gentamicin sulfate, have immune deficiency or impaired immunity or are using immuno-suppressive agents, have acute illness or serious chronic disease or acute outbreak of chronic disease, have fever, diagnosed to have nasitis, or are patients of Leigh syndrome who are using Aspirin or medicines containing that substance.

People who want to take the vaccines can register through the "Health Cloud" app or by calling community health service centers and hospitals offering the service and bringing their identity documents or vaccination cards.

Those who have taken other vaccines recently, including the COVID-19 vaccines, should wait at least 14 days before taking the influenza vaccines.

Qualified foreigner nationals can also apply to take the vaccines.

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