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Few Adverse Side Effects Seen with Intranasal Flu Vaccine

Many occur in subjects contraindicated for vaccine

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Widespread use of live, attenuated intranasal flu vaccine has not caused unexpected serious risks when used as recommended in the first two flu seasons after licensure, according to a study in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hector S. Izurieta, M.D., M.P.H., of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Rockville, Md., and colleagues summarized the adverse events reported to the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) during the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 flu seasons.

About 2.5 million people received the trivalent live, attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV-T) intranasally during these two seasons, but only 460 events, including possible anaphylaxis and asthma exacerbation, were reported by Aug. 16, 2005. Seventy-three of these reports, or 16%, came from patients for whom the vaccine was contraindicated.

"The finding of a high proportion of vaccine administration errors and the reports of use among persons for whom this vaccine was not indicated underscore the need for the clinician to follow the package insert indications regarding vaccine administration and patient eligibility," the authors write.

"The cumulative evidence, including the VAERS experience, should reassure clinicians and patients of the safety of both licensed influenza vaccines," stated the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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