Free FluMist vaccinations have been canceled for thousands of Anne Arundel County elementary school students due to a delay in the manufacturing and shipment of the vaccine, according to the Anne Arundel County Department of Health and Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
“The FluMist vaccination program has been a very successful partnership between the school system and Department of Health for the last decade. This manufacturing delay is an unfortunate turn of events,” said Dr. David C. Rose, acting health officer for Anne Arundel County. “The FluMist vaccination program simply could not move forward without knowing when we would receive an ample supply of the nasal spray vaccine. We hope to resume the program next year.”
The Department of Health currently has no FluMist vaccines available, and doesn’t anticipate any arriving before December. That would be too late in the flu season to begin the vaccination program on a countywide basis.
FluMist, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is a safe nasal spray vaccine that contains the live but attenuated (weakened) flu virus. Nationally, elementary schools with high flu immunization rates often notice reduced illness not only among the vaccinated students, but among their families as well.
The injectable form of the flu vaccine is widely available.
Under the program, children in kindergarten through fifth grade who had written parental consent could receive nasal vaccine at their elementary school. Forms were sent home with students last month.
Dr. Rose and Schools Superintendent George Arlotto urged parents to contact their primary care physicians to set up appointments for the vaccine.
“Obviously, we want to do everything we can to keep our students healthy and in school,” Dr. Arlotto said. “Our partnership with the Department of Health has helped in this and many other ways, and we look forward to continuing to work in order to assist our students in light of this development.”
The Department of Health will explore setting up clinics to offer the vaccine when an ample supply is available.
Click here for a list of Flu vaccintation clinics in the area.