Health Team

New flu vaccine features smaller needle

Posted January 19, 2012

— Some people like to gamble and play against the odds, even when it comes to the flu. They don't get the flu vaccine either because they don't think they'll get sick or they're afraid of the needle. However, a new vaccine option leaves them with no excuses.

A new intradermal vaccine features a smaller needle.

“It's just into the skin. It's not deep into the muscle,” said University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill epidemiologist Dr. David Weber. “What you do is you get a little more redness and maybe a little more swelling, but beyond that, you have similar side-effects to the standard influenza shot.”

The intradermal vaccine isn't for young children, although they can get the inhaled flu mist vaccine. The intradermal is for people ages 18 to 64. The standard injectable form is for everyone 6 months and older.

There is another form of flu vaccine with four times the amount of antigen, approved for people ages 65 and older.

Dr. Allen Mask Mask: Get flu vaccine now

Julie Andrade, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, hasn't had her flu vaccine this year, even though she remembers how bad the flu is.

“Oh, it was terrible. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn't move. I was really dehydrated. It seemed like it lasted forever,” she said.

There haven't been many flu cases in the state this year, but the peak of the season is typically middle to late February. Once someone gets the shot, or even the inhaled version, it takes one to three weeks to build up immunity.

Andrade, like many people, prefers alternatives to the longer needle vaccine, so she was willing to try the new intradermal form.

“You could hardly feel the needle going in. It was a little pressure at the beginning, but you couldn't feel the needle actually go through in your arm,” she said.

Weber says about a third of all influenza deaths each year in the U.S. are in perfectly healthy people.


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  • pirate09 Jan 25, 2012

    I am in my mid 20's and have never once had the flu or the flu shot (knock on wood)...I think I will take my chances (oh and I am also pregnant and would rather not give my baby the toxins and chemicals loaded into that vaccine that rarely works!) My dad gets it every year and guess what, most years he gets the flu...seems strange!

  • smegma Jan 24, 2012

    my excuse is it's poisonous. isn't that good enough "doctor" Mask?

  • 27615 Jan 20, 2012

    I haven't had the flu since maybe middle school and I've never had a flu shot..think I'll take my chances with the flu instead of finding out in 20 years that they cause cancer or something crazy like that...and they are ineffective at preventing the flu

  • claygriffith01 Jan 20, 2012

    OOOh Hurry everyone, go get your Gov'ment shot.

  • DontAnnoyMe Jan 19, 2012

    "They don't get the flu vaccine either because they don't think they'll get sick or they're afraid of the needle."

    LOL, most people don't get it because they know it doesn't work and it's loaded with toxins.