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Health Department No Longer Offering Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

The Allegheny County Health Department is attempting to cut the number of flu cases this season by offering four types of vaccines, all injection-based.

Allegheny County Health DepartmentDirector Karen Hacker said the vaccinations are all available at the department’s clinic in Oakland.

This year, it will not offer the FluMist nasal spray vaccine. Hacker said it was not as effective as other vaccines and is not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, she said the four types of vaccines offered this year are expected to help decrease the number of flu cases.

“They do believe that the match this year is very good in terms of the strains that are covered, matching the strains that we believe will be predominant,” Hacker said.  “So we are hoping for a year like last year, which was much better than the year before.”

During the 2015-16 season there were 3,125 confirmed flu cases in Allegheny County and six deaths. The year before that saw 5,191 cases and 25 deaths.

Credit 90.5 WESA

Hacker said there is no way to know how much of that can be traced to the efficacy of the vaccination or number of individuals who received it.

“The flu vaccine is the major intervention that we have to prevent the type of mortality and what we call morbidity from flu,” Hacker said. “So we really urge everyone to get it.”

The Allegheny County Flu Clinic at 3441 Forbes Avenue is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except on Wednesdays when it is open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Shots for those with insurance are $26, the high dose vaccine is $47. Hacker said there is a limited supply of free doses for those without insurance or who cannot otherwise afford the shot.

In recent years, many drug stores and clinics offered vaccine shots. Hacker said those places, as well as a doctor’s office are safe options. She also recommended getting documentation of receiving the vaccine because some employers are starting to require it of employees.