To protect themselves from falling sick during the flu seasons, most families in United States either go for a traditional flu shot or stick to their nasal sprays. But the last flu season, which killed nearly 50,000 people across the nation, showed that regular nasal sprays are ineffective in protecting children from flu as per a study published in medical journal Pediatrics. This study was carried out by analyzing data from previous researches about effectiveness of both shots and sprays against flu. Epidemiologist Jessie Chung from US CDC stated that the effectiveness of vaccine could be better described in age-based group studies.
The study compared effectiveness of nasal spray called FluMist (which is attenuated live influenza vaccine) and flu injections (inactivated influenza vaccine). The former works by stimulating the human immune system and is made by AstraZeneca’s subsidiary firm MedImmune based at London and was approved by FDA in 2003. From last flu season, there are three vaccines for citizens in USA which comprise of inactivated flu vaccine called IIV and the recombinant flu vaccine or RIV, which are both administered in the form of injections, along with the attenuated live influenza vaccine (LAIV), which is administered as nasal spray.
While the CDC requires every individual from six months and above to take influenza vaccinations every year, it leaves the choice of vaccine to them whether it is IIV, RIV4 or just the LAIV4. Though CDC officials had not recommended the spray for last two seasons, it was again back on recommendation list this year but then it says that IIV4 is best for children as it has provided consistent protection from several flu virus strains in several years now. The recommendation was based on data from studies carried out between 2013 and 2016 that included 17,173 children aged between 2 and 17 years spread across 42 states.