On Fox News today, with flu season again on the horizon, the CDC recommended against people using the flu mist vaccine this year as this does not appear to work. The mist is used primarily by pediatricians but is a popular choice of both mothers and others who don’t like needles. The FDA approved the mist for use in 2003 and it has been widely used since then.
The mist contains live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine which is supposed to stimulate the receivers’ own immune system. There are two strains of flu mist; one protects against 3 strains of flu and the other protects against four. The flu shot, by contrast, is a inactivated influenza vaccine which protects against infection by the flu virus.
At a hearing in June, Dr. Benard Dreyer, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said: “We agree with [the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’] decision today to recommend health care providers and parents use only the inactivated vaccine.” Health officials reported that the spray performed dismally for the third straight year, while the traditional flu shot worked better.
“We could find no evidence (the spray) was effective,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, a flu expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So, although children and the needle-shy definitely prefer the mist, the normal flu shot is recommended this year. Get your shot early as there may be a shortage of inactivated vaccine with the change from the mist.