Mind and Body

No Need to Be Afraid: Short Needle Flu Vaccine Gets U.S. Approval

US FLU SHOT

French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis said on Tuesday it had won U.S. approval to market its Fluzone Intradermal vaccine for adults, allowing for flu injections with a very fine needle.

Sanofi has said that the new vaccine, developed with syringe maker Becton Dickinson, may hurt less than standard vaccines, does a better job of stimulating protection against influenza, and requires less of the active ingredient.

Most adult flu vaccines are given using a needle 1 inch to 1.5 inches (25 mm to 40 mm) long that goes into muscle tissue.
Sanofi's new needle is one-tenth that long, just 1.5 mm, and the vaccine uses one-fifth the usual amount of the active ingredient, called antigen.

The Fluzone Intradermal vaccine will be available to healthcare providers in the U.S. for the 2011-2012 flu season, Sanofi said in a statement.