National Shortage of FluMist®; Commissioner Encourages Parents Not to Delay Children’s Immunization

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 From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

 Date October 23, 2015                            

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

 National Shortage of FluMist®

Commissioner Encourages Parents Not to Delay Children’s Immunization

ERIE COUNTY, NY— It's one of the easiest ways to protect children from the flu, but currently FluMist® Quadrivalent (“FluMist”) is in short supply both nationally and locally. Many local pediatricians are running low on supplies of the popular nasal flu spray. The manufacturer of the spray, Med-Immune, is having manufacturing problems affecting local inventories.

Unfortunately, the timing of the shortage could not be worse with flu season right around the corner. "Everyone is faced with the same shortage," said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “However, I strongly encourage parents not to wait to vaccinate their children against influenza until the FluMist supplies are restocked. Children need to be vaccinated as soon as possible to allow sufficient time for their immune system to develop antibodies to the flu viruses.” 

Children should be vaccinated with the injectable form (traditional shot) vs. delaying vaccination, as it takes at least two weeks for the body to build up antibodies to the influenza viruses. As the nasal spray form of the vaccination has only been available for a few years, parents are reminded that injections were standard practice prior to then.

Early fall is a great time to protect your children against the flu. Group settings, like classrooms, facilitate virus spread. Children are more likely to be infected with the flu than adults. They are contagious for longer periods of time and they are more likely to pass the virus on to others.

The flu season can also last as late as May, so it is not just a seasonal concern. Flu vaccines protect against three or four viruses (depending upon the type of vaccine you receive) and the vaccine is readily available in Erie County physicians’ offices, pharmacies and other community sites.

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For More Information:

Erie County Department of Health

NY State Department of Health 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention