Over the last several months I have had a lot of patients (especially those that are old enough to talk) ask me about the new needless jet injectors for vaccinations. Of course anything that says “no needle” and “painless” has a lot of appeal for both doctor and patients, especially in pediatrics. Our practice has not decided whether to try out the new jet injectors and we are still giving the standard shots, not always with smiling patients. How do jet injectors actually work? By using a thin high pressure of liquid to penetrate the skin with the vaccine.
Well, now that it is flu vaccine season, there has been a lot of advertising about needless injections for flu vaccine. Many drug stores and/or grocery stores had advertised that you could get your flu vaccine, “pain free”. Sounds great, right?
Not so fast, the FDA recently announced that “all vaccines including flu vaccine be administered in accordance with their labeling.” This means that flu vaccine has not been studied when given by the new jet injectors. The FDA also stated that there “was no data to show the safety or efficacy of flu vaccine or other vaccines given by injectors”. The only vaccine that has currently been approved to be given by the jet injectors is the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.
The flu vaccine may be given by the traditional method with a needle, or as a nasal mist (for use in children 2 years of age and older). Most of our patients opt for a “flu mist” if they can talk and sniff. It is amazing that there are several children who really do prefer a shot, and they tell me that they would “never” sniff something up their nose. Different strokes for different children.
But in the meantime, I am not jumping on the jet injector bandwagon. The FDA is now stating that each vaccine needs to be evaluated for both safety and efficacy when given by a jet injector. I am sure that those studies will be forthcoming.
In the meantime, RUN to get your flu vaccine, it is time to get vaccinated as sick season is starting and who wants the flu!
That’s your daily dose for today. We’ll chat again tomorrow.