Last week, we had the opportunity to take part in the SNIFFLE study, a multicentre study researching the now in the UK available flu vaccine. It has been used in the US for years and no severe allergic reactions to its content (among other ingredients, it contains egg) have been observed. The aim of the study here in the UK is to proof the safety of the vaccine for egg allergic children. The new thing about the vaccine is that it is given via the nostrils. No more needles, no more tears? We were especially looking forward to a needle free day at hospital (since it is a research project, vaccines are administered under supervision with easy access to emergency treatment).
So we happily decided to take part with our now 3 year old allergyBabe. We were welcomed with a friendly #hellomynameis, allergyBabe went straight for the train track and mum was seated in a comfy armchair. So far, so good.
After the usual observations (blood pressure, oxygen level, pulse, temperature) we were informed, consented and told that there would be a couple of skin prick tests prior to the administration of the vaccine. SKIN PRICK TEST. That means needles. So despite the fact that the vaccine is given as a spray, we still had to undergo the nasty procedure of skin pricking. Despite allergyBabe’s earlier statement not to want any needles, he was very brave and underwent the to him so familiar procedure without a big fuss. The test confirmed his egg allergy.
The vaccination itself was a walk in the park. 1 puff in each nostril, followed by one sneeze, and it was over. To make sure no delayed reaction would occur, we stayed for an hour afterwards, happily engaged in the play area. AllergyBabe showed no adverse effects whatsoever.
Around the third day, he complained about joint paint in his knees, which were gone after one dose of paracetamol. He also developed a slight head cold. Nothing else.
It was a very pleasant experience, from the initial call prior to our appointment to the courtesy call 3 days after the vaccination.
Thinking of taking part? You may think about the following:
If the aim of this study (to proof that the egg containing nasal vaccine is safe for egg allergic children) is achieved,
– egg allergic children will be able to be vaccinated with an easy and painless procedure
– GPs in Primary Care will be confident to administer the vaccine to egg allergic children
– parents will have proof that this vaccine is safe
It the above mentioned points can be achieved, it was worth the inconvenience of traveling to hospital, staying there and getting pricked.
After all, every vaccination that is performed is not only protecting the individual, but also the community in which they live and thrive.