Nasal flu vaccine no longer recommended
FluMist, the flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray, is no longer recommended in the guidelines set forth by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) outlining preventative flu measures (Scutti, 2016). This form of the vaccine was found to be not nearly as protective as hoped, reducing the chance of getting the virus by only 3% as compared to no intervention in children 2-17 years in a study conducted by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, part of the CDC (Fox, 2016). The injected vaccine is effective for two-thirds of that same population.
The difference in protective capacity stems from the type of vaccine. The shot is an inactivated vaccine (Scutti, 2016) in which all the virus particles are no longer pathogenic. FluMist, on the other hand, is a live attenuated vaccine, meaning that a weakened form of the virus is present. The inactivated virus with all of its parts usually develops a more protective immune response than a live attenuated virus. Everyone over the age of six months is strongly advised to get the vaccine. This is particularly important for vulnerable populations such as health care providers, young children, seniors, and pregnant women.
AstraZeneca, the maker of FluMist, disputed the CDC findings (Fox, 2016). The pharmaceutical giant cited European studies and a Canadian study that found their vaccine to be effective. However, because the guidelines set forth influence vaccine availability in the US, it is unlikely that AstraZeneca will be able to fight back at all this year.
One potential outcome of this change is that some people may choose to opt out of getting the shot. This may put particular populations more at risk. In this case, with FluMist most often being used to vaccinate children, they are the ones most likely to be at risk. However, Dr. David Henderson, an OhioHealth pediatrics physician, doesn’t think parents who have a history of vaccination will let their kid go without getting the vaccine (Scutti, 2016).
Fox, M. (September 6, 2016). Pediatricians give thumbs-down to FluMist flu vaccine. NBC News. Retrieved from
Harris, R. (September 6, 2016). Pediatricians Recommend Flu Vaccination, Just Not with The Spray. NPR.org. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/09/06/492829843/pediatricians-recommend-flu-vaccination-just-not-with-the-spray
Scutti, S. (September 6, 2016). Pediatricians update flu vaccine guidelines to remove FluMist. CNN. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/06/health/flu-season-flumist-spray-shot/index.html