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Find Flumist: November 2003

November 29, 2003

by Sherri Tenpenny, DO

Wyeth and MedImmune are co-sponsoring a new website located at The site is designed to answer all of the most frequently asked questions about FluMist, the nation's first intranasal flu vaccine.

In addition to a downloadable $25 rebate coupon and a 7 page, full-color brochure that emphasizes the inconveniences of having the flu, the site contains a section referred to as the "The FluMist® Finder." By placing a city or a zip code in the locator box, a dispensing doctor or pharmacist can be quickly located within a 5-mile radius of the quiry. A cursory scan of the results identifies the most common provider categories as primary care physicians, pediatricians, RiteAid and Discount DrugMart. Links connect the FluMist website to the provider's location for easy identification—and not-so-subtle advertising. It appears that even though WalMart withdrew from participating with MedImmune, many large retailers and physicians are selling FluMist.

Newspapers and media outlets across the country in the past few months have headlined the warning that flu outbreaks this year are going to be extremely harsh, quite possibly the worst in several decades. Perhaps this is not just a mere marketing ploy to get people vaccinated. After all, every report urging vaccination to protect us against this supposedly "inevitable" illness makes a point of saying the most commonly isolated flu strain—(A/Fujian)—is not even in the vaccine. Could this be a pre-emptive warning? Could we be headed for a bad flu season that has been induced by Flumist?

If you are suffering from an immunosuppressive disease—such as HIV or cancer—or you are taking immunosuppressive medications such as Prednisone, it may be advisable to use the FluMist finder and to call ahead when going to a doctor's office or local retailer. The FluMist package insert advises immunosuppressed persons to avoid close personal contact with persons who have received the vaccine for up to 21 days.

Sherri Tenpenny, DO

Vaccination Liberation - Idaho Chapter
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