UK plans to administer the AstaraZenca nasal vaccine to all kids in the country without charging any money. In doing so, the country becomes the first to undertake such a program. The news was resealed on Wednesday by the Department of Health.
Usually, the vaccine is administered in the form of an injection. Under the new scheme, which costs over $155 million, United Kingdom shall shift to nasal sprays. The vaccine is expected to reach nine million children after the scheme is fully underway. The program is set to start in 2014 since the drug maker requires the time to prepare required quantity.
Health experts are pleased with the development. However, they caution that regular supervision is required in order to ensure quality and make sure that the plan reaches all children. Convincing the public about the change and its benefits is also essential, according to health experts. Some experts remain skeptical about the nasal vaccine.
The vaccination is to be administered to all kids, irrespective of whether they belong to high risk groups. This is supposed to protect kids as well as prevent spread of the disease. In Europe, the vaccine will be sold as Fluenz and in the United States, the vaccine is called FluMist. United States has been using the vaccine for the past decade.
Fluenz is constituted by live flu viruses which are considerably weakened. They are not capable of causing the disease but strong enough to trigger the body's immune system to develop antibodies against them. The development of the vaccine is not supposed to be profit based.
While the cost of the vaccine is $22 or £14, the government of United Kingdom plans to administer it free of cost. This implies that AstraZeneca will only be able to make a scaled down limited profit from the drug.