It was only a year ago that modern medicine had children all over the nation breathing a sigh of relief. The FluMist nasal spray was the new alternative to the standard (and dreaded) flu shot.
Because most children are fearful of shots, and some adults, too, the FluMist seemed like a hero from those annual injections, and evidence showed the spray actually worked better than the shot. The additional bonus was the spray could be administered by the school or workplace; saving you a trip to the doctor.
Nasal spray vaccination seemed like a great way for families to avoid the heavy-handed sickness that accompanies the flu and in 2015, the CDC expressed a preference for the use of FluMist in young children, over the traditional shot. Unfortunately, that recommendation lasted for exactly one year.
CDC Recommends Not Using FluMist Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that nasal sprays should not be used during the upcoming flu season.
During years of testing, all signs pointed to the fact that the spray was working better than the flu shot in young children, and due to its ease in administration, it became the recommended method for administering the flu vaccine.
Further analysis of the data has demonstrated that the FluMist vaccine was only 3% effective during the last flu season. “This three percent estimate means no protective benefit could be measured,” the CDC said.
As the nasal spray solution accounts for one-third of the vaccines administered to children in recent years, this sudden decision means that many pediatricians will be short of the regular vaccine this year.
Delay Could Be Detrimental
The flu is a virus with several different strains, each adapting over time. This means, the vaccine must also be made fresh every year so it will match whatever forms of influenza are currently circulating.
The CDC recommends that most people be vaccinated annually to protect against influenza, but this is especially true for the young and the elderly, whose immune systems may need extra help to prevent serious illness.
The CDC will be working with manufacturers of flu vaccines to try and get an adequate supply to market, but it is quite possible that inventories will fall short this year.
Our recommendation? Doctor’s office usually get their seasonal supply of vaccines in the early fall, so schedule an early visit with your family physician to get your children vaccinated. Don’t wait.
~ Dr. Randy