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Flu Vaccination by Jet Injector

Questions & Answers

What is a jet injector and how is it used for vaccination?

A jet injector is a medical device used for vaccination that uses a high-pressure, narrow stream of fluid to penetrate the skin instead of a hypodermic needle. Jet injectors may be powered by compressed gas or springs. The devices were invented in the 1960s and were used successfully in mass vaccination efforts to eradicate smallpox and other diseases. In the past, the devices were often used to vaccinate servicemen in the armed forces.

What flu vaccines are available via jet injector this season?

On August 15, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of one jet injector device (the PharmaJet Stratis 0.5ml Needle-free Jet Injector) for delivery of one particular flu vaccine (AFLURIA® by bioCSL Inc.) in individuals 18 through 64 years of age.

What flu viruses does the flu vaccine administered by jet injector protect against?

The one flu vaccine currently approved for use with a jet injector this season, AFLURIA®, is a trivalent (i.e., three strain) influenza vaccine. It provides protection against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and one influenza B virus. For more information, see What You Should Know for the 2015-16 Season.

Who can be vaccinated with flu vaccine administered by jet injector?

Flu vaccination with AFLURIA® via jet injector is approved for use in people 18 through 64 years of age.

How effective is flu vaccine administered by jet injector?

Clinical trial data used in FDA’s approval of the jet injector flu vaccine (i.e., the PharmaJet Stratis Needle-Free Injector used with AFLURIA) demonstrated that vaccination using this jet injector method provided a non-inferior (i.e., similar) level of immune protection compared to the same flu vaccine administered via traditional flu shot.

What side effects are associated with flu vaccination administered via jet injection?

In adults 18 through 64 years of age, the most common injection-site adverse reactions observed in a clinical study of the jet injector flu vaccine up to 7 days post-vaccination were tenderness, swelling, pain, redness, itching and bruising. The most common systemic adverse events within this period were myalgia (muscle pain), malaise (i.e., the feeling of discomfort or unease like when you are first getting sick), and headache.

Does flu vaccine administered by jet injector contain thimerosal?

Yes. The formulation of AFLURIA® administered with the jet injector is in a multi-dose vial, which contains thimerosal. For more information, see Thimerosal and 2015-2016 Seasonal Flu Vaccines.

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