ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination, with either the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) or recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV), for everyone 6 months and older.
“We do understand this change will be hard for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients, and to patients who prefer that route of administration”, Dr. Karen Remley, CEO and executive director of the AAP.
Only two years ago, officials advised doctors that whenever possible they should use FluMist on young kids instead of flu shots. “Having FluMist not available doesn’t matter – vaccination is the single most important way we can protect our children and ourselves”. First licensed in 2003, it got approved for healthy people in the group 2 to 49.
“Theoretically, vaccines containing live viruses – like the nasal spray – can cause a stronger immune response than vaccines with inactivated virus, like the flu shot”, said Nordlund.
A report published in Kdrv informed, “A CDC advisory committee recommended Wednesday that FluMist, the nasal spray influenza vaccine, should not be used during the upcoming flu season”.
Corson said the decision was made based on state guidelines, but would probably have little effect because such a small percentage of the nasal vaccine is administered.
“How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including characteristics of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and even which vaccine is used”, the CDC said.
The panel’s recommendation could have a significant impact since data suggests that nasal flu vaccine now accounts for about one-third of all flu vaccines given to children, according to the CDC. Unlike shots made from a killed virus, it is made from a live but weakened flu virus.
But since then, studies have shown the vaccine didn’t work well against the most common flu strains in any of the past three flu seasons.
During the winter that just ended, flu shots were almost 50 percent effective against the flu strain that made most people sick. Perhaps the question isn’t whether the FluMist flu vaccine is effective or not, but rather, whether any flu vaccine is effective.
Experts were particularly anxious that FluMist hasn’t protected against H1N1, a type of flu that often causes more deaths and hospitalizations among children and young adults.
“I know they will be very disappointed, but I will still get them vaccinated”, said Howton.
Why don’t the vaccines work?
Bruning says they start giving flu vaccines as early as August, so they must have their orders in ahead of time.
Howton said she fears the uncertainty now surrounding the nasal spray will add to the skepticism some parents have about vaccines in general.
“We have to go with what the data says”, said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease specialist and a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Health Security, who wasn’t involved with the CDC decision, but supports the recommendation.