AstraZeneca, a leading pharmaceutical company, is seeking approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, to be self-administered at home. If approved, this would mark a significant milestone as the first ever self-administered vaccine.
Currently, the supplemental license application is requesting approval for the use of FluMist in individuals aged 2-49. Although the vaccine has been available for the past 20 years, it has only been administered in pharmacy or clinical settings. AstraZeneca aims to change that by allowing individuals to administer the vaccine themselves.
The decision to seek FDA approval for self-administration is influenced by the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. AstraZeneca believes that people can easily use the nasal syringe, which will be different from nasal spray medications. This innovation is expected to make the administration process more convenient and accessible.
However, shipping the nasal syringes to customers will require temperature controls. While specific details about packaging and shipment are not yet available, AstraZeneca is committed to ensuring that the vaccines maintain their efficacy throughout the distribution process.
If approved, adults aged 18 and older would be permitted to self-administer the FluMist vaccine and also administer it to children aged 2-17. This expanded accessibility is a deliberate effort by AstraZeneca to address the low flu vaccine uptake in certain populations.
Furthermore, this move by AstraZeneca also opens the door for the possibility of self-administered vaccines for other diseases, including COVID-19. As the world continues to grapple with the impact of the ongoing pandemic, self-administration of vaccines could prove to be a game-changer in terms of vaccination efforts and public health initiatives.
AstraZeneca expects to receive a decision from the FDA regarding the self-administration of FluMist by the first quarter of 2024. This development marks a significant advancement in the field of vaccine administration and has the potential to reshape vaccination practices for years to come.
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