Think a brand new nasal spray flu vaccine is protecting your children from the flu? An alarming new report claims otherwise.
Pediatricians are giving a big thumbs down to a new flu vaccine that promises to let children avoid the needle with a nasal spray, saying that FluMist is not recommended for kids this year, echoing comments from vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scientists have found that FluMist barely protects against influenza at all in the last few years — sad news for kids who hate needles and the parents who don’t like putting them through the experience, according to a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The reality is that nothing replaces the flu shot in providing protection against the flu, which is vastly superior to anything a nasal spray can do. The CDC said that FluMist reduced the risk of getting the flu by just 3 percent in the last three flu seasons.
AstraZeneca, which manufactures flu mist, dispute the findings and pointed to other studies showing it to be more effective. But the damage has already been done — without the AAP’s blessing, clinics and pharmacies are likely to cancel orders.
“New research shows that the flu shot provided significantly better protection in recent flu seasons compared with the nasal spray vaccine,” said Henry H. Bernstein, DO, MHCM, FAAP, who co-authored the statement. “We want to provide children with the best protection possible against flu, and these recent studies show the flu shot is likely to provide a higher level of protection.”
“Pregnant women can help protect themselves and their unborn children by getting the vaccine,” said Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAP. “Breastfeeding also offers newborns added protection against the flu. Because the flu virus is common and unpredictable, it can cause serious complications even in healthy children. … The influenza vaccine is an essential, every-year vaccine for infants beginning at 6 months, children and teens. Protecting children from influenza with the vaccine, early in the respiratory season, is the best protection pediatricians and parents can provide.”
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