My four-year-old got her swine flu vaccination yesterday. At the time, I was relieved when the school nurse pulled out a spray rather than a syringe.
There were no tears - or at least fewer than if she had gotten a shot.
But then I started to wonder - is this really as good as the real thing ... that is, the needle?
Apparently I'm not alone. My neighborhood parent list serve has been peppered with posts from parents wondering the same thing.
"Why is the H1N1 vaccine being given as nasal spray rather than a shot?" asks one mother.
"Is this just to keep kids from freaking out?" posed another.
So I did a bit of digging around to try and find out if the spray delivery, while easier and less painful, is as effective. The answer, like so much in science, appears to be mixed.
A Sept. 24, 2009 report in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the injectable vaccine for seasonal influenza offered 50 percent better protection than the live nasal spray vaccine during the 2007-08 flu season.
But (and this is a big but for parents) that study was only among a sample of 2,000 young adults, ages 18 to 49.