According to recent research published in the Pediatrics journal, patients should not use the nasal spray flu vaccine in 2016. This statement supports previous recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
These recommendations are based on research which reveals that the nasal spray flu vaccine, also known as the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), offered low protection against certain types of influenza between 2013 and 2016 and does not offer the required efficacy.
The data gathered from the United States Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network showed that LAIV offered only 3% protection against any flu virus during the 2015-2016 flu season in children aged 2 to 17 years. By comparison, the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), the injectable flu vaccine, proved more effective, offering 63 percent protection against any influenza strain.
MedImmune’s LAIV, FluMist was also found to offer poor or lower-than-expected protection against flu viruses in the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 flu outbreak seasons, the study showed.
Previous study suggested that the LAIV was equally if not more effective than the flu shot. Containing live flu viruses, this vaccine should cause a stronger immune response than vaccines based on inactivated flu viruses like IIV.
CDC experts are still unclear about the he reason for the inefficacy of the LAIV vaccine.
On the basis of recent evidence demonstrating the low protection of LAIV against flu, the AAP recommend that all children aged 6 months and above be vaccinated with IIV during the 2016-2017 flu outbreak and not the flu nasal spray.
Children between 6 months and 9 years need to take one dose of IIV if they received two or more doses of IIV or LAIV before July 1, or two doses, respectively, if they previously received fewer than two IIV or LAIV doses before July 1. 9-year-old children require only one dose, the AAP suggest.
The AAP also recommend flu vaccination for all teenagers and children with conditions that might increase risk for flu complications, such as asthma or sickle cell anemia. Caregivers and home contacts of these children should also be vaccinated to increase protection.
Moreover, pregnant women are encouraged to take the flu shot due to increased risk of flu-associated complications for both mother and baby. According to AAP, the flu vaccine can offer flu protection to the baby in the first six months of life. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, AAP member says that breastfeeding increases flu protection in newborns. Due to its unpredictable nature, the flu virus is likely to cause complications even in healthy children, she added.
The policy statement also urges healthcare professionals to take the vaccination. The AAP recommend that doctors should act as role models for both patients and co-workers by receiving the flu vaccination annually, thus highlighting the safety and effectiveness of regular influenza vaccination.
Following AAP recommendations, this year healthcare providers should start the flu vaccination campaign as early as October to ensure full protection throughout the entire 2016-2017 season.