End of Summer, Beginning of Flu Season

Pediatricians group advises against nasal spray flu vaccine

The nasal spray vaccine has more fans than the inoculation that comes in a syringe, for obvious reasons.

The policy statement, “Recommendations for Prevention and Control of Influenza in Children, 2016-2017”, supports the recommendation by federal health officials not to use the live vaccine, administered by intranasal spray.

It’s back to the needle for kids this flu season as the American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends the nasal FluMist in place of a shot. The mist’s effectiveness among children aged 2-17 years was just 3%; the injected vaccine had a 63% effectiveness rate.

Following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nasal spray flu vaccine will not be available in the US for the upcoming flu season. That’s because studies showed it does not protect against many strains of the flu virus.

Among other recommendations in the statement, the APP called for a special effort to vaccinate certain groups.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are also encouraged to be vaccinated. A flu shot at any point during pregnancy is safe and crucial because pregnant women are at high risk of complications from flu.

The vaccination also provides protection for their infants during the first six months of life, according to recent research.

A flu expert with the CDC and member of ACIP theorized that when a fourth strain of influenza was added to the vaccine a few years ago, that may have weakened the body’s response to another strain. “Because the flu virus is common and unpredictable, it can cause serious complications even in healthy children”. AAP says health care providers should start offering flu vaccines no later than October to get patients immunized early in the flu season.

Sorry, kids. Your pediatrician will probably give you the flu vaccine in the form of a shot this year. “The AAP recommends annual seasonal influenza immunization for everyone 6 months and older, including children and adolescents”, the statement reads.