BURLINGTON >> Following new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nasal spray flu vaccine will not be available in the U.S. for the upcoming flu season. Instead, all flu vaccinations will be given as a standard shot.
The nasal spray flu vaccine has been offered in recent years to healthy individuals ages 2 to 49. This past June, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend that it not be used during the 2016-17 flu season. New research has shown a significant difference between the effectiveness of the standard flu shot and the nasal spray flu vaccine. During the 2015-16 flu season, the flu shot was 63 percent effective at preventing or reducing influenza-related illness in people ages 2 to 17. However, the nasal spray, which accounted for fewer than 10 percent of all flu vaccinations, was only 3 percent effective. Scientists are continuing to investigate the reasons for the low effectiveness of the nasal spray vaccine.
"Each year the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies depending on how good a match it is to the type of flu strains that circulate during the season, but 3 percent is far too low a level to ensure protection," said Christine Finley, immunization program manager for the Vermont Department of Health.
Although the nasal spray won't be used for flu vaccines this year, CDC and the Health Department continue to recommend everyone age 6 months and older get a yearly flu shot. At this time, there is no indication that there will be a shortage of vaccine.
Flu vaccination can reduce illness and prevent flu-related hospitalizations:
• Vaccination helps protect individuals from getting sick
• The flu vaccine lowers the risk of illness in people who cannot get a flu shot, or who are more vulnerable to getting the flu – such as older adults, infants younger than 6 months and people with chronic health conditions
• Vaccinated individuals who do get sick experience milder symptoms and fewer flu-related hospitalizations among adults
• Getting a flu shot during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth
• Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from flu
For more information about the influenza vaccine visit: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Recommendations - CDC News Release 06/22/2016
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