Should You Purchase a Multi Dose or Single Dose Flu Vaccine?

Each year medical professionals along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work together to encourage patients all across the United States to get vaccinated for the current flu virus. The flu is a respiratory illness that has symptoms similar to the common cold, but tend to occur in much greater severity. On an average year, as many as 6,000 Americans will come down with a severe case of the flu though some years are worse. Several months prior to the flu season each year, drug companies begin to create a vaccine that is based off of the current strain of flu that is going around. This vaccine is then purchased by doctor’s offices all over the country along with pharmacies and businesses that wish to offer the vaccine to people on site. Up until the late 1990’s, the flu vaccine was manufactured as multi-dose vials. At this time, preservatives became a concern to many people and single-dose vials became more popular. At your medical practice, it is up to you which type of product you choose to offer to your clients. These options are different and it is best to consider the facts regarding each of these vaccinations before making a final decision as to what to carry and what to recommend to patients.

What Is A Multi-Dose Exactly?

When one vial of vaccine medication includes enough medication for more than one patient or dose, this is considered a multi-dose vaccine. These vaccine vials will contain a preservative of some sort that prohibits the growth of bacteria inside of it. This preservative doesn’t have any effect on the virus inside of the vial. This medication can be used on multiple, unrelated patients but it must be kept in a dedicated area that cannot be accessed by patients. The vial itself should not enter the patient room either.

Patient’s Preference

It is important to consider the concerns of your patients when determining what kind of products you are going to keep on hand in your office. Many patients and parents are becoming more concerned about the preservatives that are being used in vaccines like the flu shot. The main preservative in use is called thimerosal. It is mercury based and while it is effective against the growth or contamination of bacteria, it can have unwanted side effects in patients. This preservative is the reason many people have started to delay vaccinations with their small children. If you have patients that want to avoid this preservative for whatever reason, having single doses on hand may be a good idea. The cost of single dose vials may be a bit higher which is something to consider and budget for.

Currently, there are many different forms of the flu vaccine available. Different brands provide different options and pricing. Companies such as Agriflu, Fluzone, Afluria and Fluarix all have the option for thimerosal free, single dose vials if you are interested. Multi-dose vials are also available from some of these brands as well as other brands and they do contain preservatives to keep them safe. The flu vaccine is very important when it comes to protecting patients as well as keeping the flu to a minimum in your general area. If that means keeping single-dose vials of the flu on hand for patients who otherwise would not get vaccinated, then this may be a good option to consider. Certain years, the flu shot’s effectiveness isn’t as high as we would like. That means the flu will be quite prevalent and if people choose not to vaccinate this could cause a larger increase in flu cases.

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