Pediatricians recommended against the usage of the needle-free flu vaccine FluMist on Tuesday after data showed that the nasal sprays barely protected children in the last few years. Children will now have to get flu shots.
“New research shows that the flu shot provided significantly better protection in recent flu seasons compared with the nasal spray vaccine,” Henry Bernstein, co-author of the statement published on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website, told NBC News.
“Families want their children and themselves to be protected against influenza. Not having the option of receiving a flu vaccine intranasally or [via] a nasal spray is disappointing to some but I think that people recognize that flu vaccine is the best preventative measure that we have to protect everyone against influenza,” he added.
The data published online in the journal Pediatrics found that children between the ages of two and 17 who were vaccinated using nasal sprays with the live attenuated virus were two and a half times more likely to fall sick than children who got a shot.
A third of children who received their vaccines in the recent years were vaccinated using the spray and not the needle. The AAP said that at least 85 children died of the flu.
In its updated recommendations, the AAP said that all children above six months of age should receive the inactivated influenza vaccine. Children between the ages of eight and 17 need only one shot of the vaccine but children below the age of eight and who haven’t gotten at least two doses of any flu vaccine require two doses four weeks apart.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had earlier recommended against using nasal sprays as a substitute for flu vaccine shots.