Delays in delivery of nasal flu vaccine leave some clinics and patients waiting

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's safe to say that most kids prefer a spray up the nose instead of a shot to protect against flu. But there are delays this year in shipments of FluMist, the nasal vaccine, which is approved for ages 2 to 49. The manufacturer, MedImmune, says it's had to spread out delivery to clinics because it had to replace three of the four strains from last year's vaccine.

At Children's Mercy's primary care clinic, Gael Martinez is going to get FluMist.

"Since they're kids, the regular shot hurts them and so that we don't cause them any pain, I prefer the mist," said his mother, Maria Martinez.

The clinic has an adequate supply now of FluMist for children who receive their vaccinations through Medicaid. But a doctor says the clinic's supply of nasal vaccine for kids with private insurance has been "day-to-day."

"If they want to go ahead and receive the injection, we can do that. If they wish to come back when we have more supply of the FluMist that their insurance will cover, we can accommodate that as well," said Dr. George Phillips.

Some other pediatric clinics in the metro say they've received only one fifth or one sixth of their supply of FluMist so far this season. They're concerned about whether they'll have enough injectable vaccine to make up the difference. Some are telling parents to look elsewhere. The important thing, they say, is to get your child protected against flu.

Click here for a list of free flu shot clinics offered in the metro

"There's always the possibility you may need to use other providers such as the county health department or a pharmacy, but always the best way to do that for multiple reasons is to go through your primary child's doctor first and develop a plan," said Dr. Phillips.

Ask if your child can wait or should go ahead and get vaccinated now.

FluMist protects against four strains of flu. There's injectable vaccine that also does. There is also injectable vaccine that protects against three strains. The Centers for Disease Control does not recommend one over another.

MedImmune says it will continue delivering FluMist throughout the season.

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