CDC - Nasal Flu Vaccine Ineffective, Should Not Be Used Next Season

Researchers assessed the effectiveness of the nasal spray for children from 2013 to 2016
Researchers assessed the effectiveness of the nasal spray for children from 2013 to 2016

HealthDay News — The nasal spray form of the influenza vaccine should not be used next flu season, according to an announcement late Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

ACIP said it reviewed data from 2013 through 2016 to assess the effectiveness of the nasal spray for children aged 2 to 17. These new studies found that FluMist offered children virtually no protection against the flu. In the 2015-16 flu season, the nasal flu vaccine's protection rate was only 3%, which means that no protective benefit could be measured, the panel explained. It's effectiveness in the previous two flu seasons was also low. In comparison, the traditional flu shot was 63% effective among children aged 2 to 17 during the 2015-16 flu season, ACIP said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supported the panel's move. "We do understand this change will be difficult for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients, and to patients who prefer that route of administration," Karen Remley, MD, MPH, CEO and executive director of the AAP, said in an academy news release. "However, the science is compelling that the inactivated vaccine is the best way to protect children from what can be an unpredictable and dangerous virus."

The director of the CDC must review and approve the ACIP recommendation before it becomes policy. A decision is expected in late summer or early fall.

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