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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Starting next year, you might be able to take your flu vaccine at home through your nose

Holly Zenick receives a H1N1 nasal spray vaccination, Oct. 21, 2009, at the Spokane Regional Health District in Spokane. Public health officials say emergency funding is typically available to respond to disease outbreaks, but there’s little political will to set aside the money necessary to prepare for them.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Right as flu season begins, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced it’s seeking FDA approval for a nasal spray flu vaccine that could be administered by yourself from the comfort of your home.

If given the thumbs-up by the Food and Drug Administration, the drug could be ready to go up nostrils as soon as next year’s flu season.

In a news release announcing the application, AstraZeneca vice president Iskra Reic said the vaccine would provide an “innovative, more accessible option for individuals, families and communities,” and could “revolutionize flu vaccination.”

Known as FluMist Quadrivalent, the technology behind the nasal spray flu vaccine is not new. It was first approved for use in the United States in 2003, and nearly 200 million doses have been administered across the globe. But before now, the spray had to be administered by a medical provider just like the shot form of the vaccine.

Based on a usability study conducted by the company, AstraZeneca now believes the spray can be self-administered “when given instructions for use without any additional guidance,” according to the news release.

The drug is approved for use in those aged 2 to 49. It is commonly used in doctor’s offices as an alternatives for children who are afraid of needles. A dose of the vaccine must be sprayed into each nostril.

Though side effects from the vaccine may not occur, the most common are a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat or a light fever.

The FDA must now decide whether the average person can be trusted to administer the vaccine to themselves. Based on its regulations, the FDA is expected to make a ruling on the nasal spray some time in the first four months of 2024.

If approved, the vaccine could be ordered online and shipped directly to homes.