December 18, 2003: Flu Shot Update

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December 18, 2003

Press Contact:

Pamela Green

(610) 642-6550

There's been a lot of talk in the U.S. news lately about flu outbreaks around the country and a shortage of flu vaccines in some places. You may also have heard about an alternative to the flu shot, called "Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine."

This type of vaccine is not given as a shot. It's a mist that's inhaled through the nose. Unlike the regular flu vaccine, the nasal spray type contains live, but weakened, flu virus. In the regular vaccine the flu virus is dead.

It's very important to know that the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine is only approved for healthy people between the ages of 5 and 49. If you're 50 or older, you should not get it. Also, if you're sick or have a weakened immune system, you should not get this type of vaccine.

This is because when your immune system is weak, it might not be able to deal with even a weakened form of the live flu virus. In the regular flu vaccine (the kind that's given as a shot) the virus is dead, so even a weak immune system can handle it.

To find out more about this new type of flu vaccine, visit the Center for Disease Control web site.

Conventional Ways to Fight Infection and Cancer

Read more about why it's important for people with cancer to get a flu shot.

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