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CDC Says Injected Vaccine, Not Mist, Best Way To Fend Off Flu

UW Health

A popular flu vaccination option for children is not being recommended this year. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics is not recommending FluMist for the upcoming influenza season after a panel review found it to be up to 25 percent less effective than the flu shot.

IU Health Medical Director of Infection Prevention for Pediatrics Dr. Elaine Cox says the effectiveness of the mist, which was approved in 2003, became better understood as it was more widely used.

“You get a better feel for how effective it’s going to be because the numbers were so much larger and the protection was not very good,” she says.

Cox says there are two reasons she is not recommending the Flu Mist.  “One is people aren’t protected as they think they are and they’re not, and second is it’s not helping us establish herd immunity if it’s not doing its job, Cos says.”

FluMist is a live form of the vaccination administered as a nasal spray. It was a preferred choice for many young children because there’s no needle. 

The CDC expressed concern that vaccination numbers would drop because of the recommendations. 

Cox emphasizes that the flu shot is still the most effective way of preventing the virus.

During the last season 69 Hoosiers died from the flu.