Local News

Health experts: Nasal FluMist vaccine is safe

Posted November 6, 2009 8:19 p.m. EST
Updated November 7, 2009 5:31 p.m. EST

— As Wake County prepares for another round of flu vaccine clinics on Monday, health officials want to clear up confusion about the Nasal FluMist vaccine used to ward off H1N1.

Community Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford said the county will have more than 6,000 doses of the flu vaccine available. About half with be the traditional injection and the rest will be the FluMist vaccine.

Ledford said the county has been getting calls from people concerned about whether the FluMist vaccine is safe.

“The nasal mist is a very safe method,” Ledford said Friday.

Ledford said much of the concern comes from people hearing that FluMist actually contains the live flu virus. While that is true, it contains a weakened version of the virus.

“It’s just enough so that the body responds and it builds up that immunity, but it doesn't give you symptoms of the flu,” Ledford said.

FluMist is only recommended for healthy people ages 2 to 49. It isn't recommended for pregnant women, anyone with a long-term health problem or children with asthma.

While both forms of the H1N1 vaccine are new, health officials said people should take comfort in knowing both are well tested.

“It actually has gone through the exact same testing that we've gone through for years with seasonal,” Ledford said.

The vaccine supply is expected to go fast.

“We expect a large crowd we've had people calling and asking how early they could line up,” Ledford said.

Health officials say before waiting in line at a clinic, people should check with their doctor and local pharmacy to see if they have the H1N1 vaccine.

Wake County received nearly 10,000 doses last week. About one-third of those doses went to private doctors.

A listing of Wake County clinics holding H1N1 flu vaccinations:

  • Public Health Center, G-35, 10 Sunnybrook Road, Raleigh
  • Southern Regional Center, 130 N. Judd Parkway, Fuquay-Varina
  • Northern Regional Center, 350 East Holding Ave., Wake Forest
  • Eastern Regional Center, 1002 Dogwood Drive, Zebulon
  • Colonial Baptist Church, 6051 Tryon Road, Cary

Clinics in Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest and Zebulon will open at 9 a.m. The clinic in Cary will open at 10 a.m. Clinics will close when the vaccine is no longer available.

Wake County locations are in blue

View Flu vaccination clinics in a larger map