"I'm not worried about the vaccine itself being safe; if done properly, I have no doubt it will be safe," Rubin said. "But the average person going to a clinic may not know that they have a respiratory disease... If you gave the live vaccine to a patient with asthma, that could hurt them.
"I'm not looking to be paranoid, but there's going to be some human error."
Rubin added that he is concerned about the vaccine because "it's very new" and there doesn't seem to be concrete information available to clinicians as to what percentage of those vaccinated can be expected to be protected, or as to which of the four different vaccine products that will eventually be available works the best.
Others are more critical.
"The CDC and FDA have jumped the gun on this," said Zachariah Broshes, assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice at Ohio Northern University. "I will not be carrying the vaccine, nor will I administer it."
Broshes' opinion is among the minority; however, Dr. Peter Katona, an infectious disease specialist at UCLA, said that he is "getting a great deal of hesitation about vaccination, [that it] hasn't been tested properly, the flu isn't that bad anyway, it won't happen to me, et cetera. Some docs are also telling their patients not to take it."
Dr. John Treanor, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester has also noticed these concerns. "The ironic thing about this is that we use more than 100 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine each year, usually containing new components, that are also not evaluated in clinical trials before licensure, and that seems to work just fine."
Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commented that just in NIH-funded clinical trials alone, these vaccines have been tested in a total of 3,009 adult, elderly, and pediatric patients, adding that many drugs are approved on the basis of studies of this size.