Times 'cry out for flu nasal sprays'

Local | 28 Sep 2020

Wallis Wang

Flu vaccine in nasal spray form should be widely used in school vaccination programs for children to prevent them from crying as they won't be jabbed, he Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong said.

The society found in a survey that parents with kids in kindergartens and primary schools were worried that their children would cry when getting the jab, and thus increase infection risks for Covid-19, which is transmitted by droplets.

Pharmacists believe the nasal spray flu vaccine could make the process of vaccination safer and smoother during the pandemic.

The group said about 86 percent of parents who took part in the survey would arrange their children to be vaccinated against the flu this year, and nearly 70 percent of them would like to have the nasal spray vaccine as the children are afraid of pain.

Society president William Chui Chun-ming said it is reasonable for parents and schools to be concerned that children may cry when getting jabs.

"Kids may cry and scream as they are afraid of injections, and a large number of students may gather together for vaccination, all of these factors are potential risks for the spread of coronavirus," he said.

"It is important to shorten the time of vaccination and prevent children from crying, and the nasal spray vaccine which does not need an injection is a good choice."

The group also conducted a survey of staff working at primary schools and kindergartens, which saw 75 percent of respondents saying it would take only about one minute to get each student a nasal spray vaccine while more than 60 percent of them said jabs would take about five minutes to complete.

It believed that the nasal spray vaccine is expected to shorten the gathering time and reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

The group said 85 percent of the schools surveyed would take part in the vaccination program next year, but nearly 80 percent of them opted for injectable vaccines.

"Apparently, parents and schools have different opinions regarding the form of flu vaccines. It might be because schools failed to collect parents' opinions before arranging vaccination," Chui said, adding that the survey could help schools better understand parents' views.

The survey also showed that more than 70 percent of parents were concerned that their children might contract seasonal flu and Covid-19 at the same time, which would increase the risk of complications, hospitalization and death.

Chui said the transmission rate of coronavirus would increase by two to 2.5 times if patients were infected with both flu and Covid-19 and urged the public to be cautious and get vaccinated to reduce the risk.

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