Patients who will get a flu shot this upcoming influenza season will have plenty of options, including one that doesn't involve a needle at all for those who have a phobia or strong dislike of the poke.
Those who are fearful of needles and those who are allergic to eggs now have a few vaccines to choose from, and immunologists like Dr. Gregory Poland, with the Mayo Clinic, say the diversity shows a commitment to personalized patient care and prevention.
"It really is ushering in a new era of individualized, or personalized, medicine," Poland said. "Instead of 'one size fits all,' this is a very real example of the incredible advances happening in medicine where there's not one choice for everybody; there's a best choice for each individual."
Poland admits that doctors and patients may find the seven options somewhat confusing, but he said many of the new vaccines are tailored to specific age groups or are designed to address specific fears.
The array includes:
- A standard shot covering four strains of influenza instead of the traditional three - Micro-needle vaccines for the needle-phobic which go into the skin, not under it - Needle-less nasal sprays covering four strains - A high-dose vaccine for the elderly to boost immune response and protection - There are two vaccines without egg proteins for those with egg allergies