Flu Vaccination by Jet Injector

Note: “Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2019–20 Influenza Season” has been published. CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, influenza vaccine that is appropriate for the recipient’s age and health status, (IIV, RIV4, or LAIV4) with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another. Content on this website is being updated to reflect this most recent guidance. More information about the upcoming 2019-2020 flu season is available.

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?

Two flu vaccines, AFLURIA® and AFLURIA Quadrivalent®, are 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. AFLURIA Quadrivalent® (i.e. four strain) influenza vaccine provides protection against an influenza A (H1N1) virus, and influenza A (h3N2) virus and two influenza B viruses. For more information, see What You Should Know for the 2017-18 Season.

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

Flu vaccination with AFLURIA® and AFLURIA Quadrivalent® 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 formulations of AFLURIA®and Afluria Quadrivalent® used for administration by jet injector are from multi-dose vials, which contain thimerosal. For more information, see Thimerosal Flu Vaccines.

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