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Spray Flu Vaccine Equals Shot Protection

Image: Spray Flu Vaccine Equals Shot Protection

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By    |   Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 04:00 PM


Although U.S. health officials recommend that only the traditional flu shot be offered this coming season, the nasal flu spray vaccine protects just as well, a new study finds.

The Centers for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in June against allowing healthcare practitioners to offer the nasal spray form of the vaccine, known as FluMist, for the coming flu season. They made the decision based on findings that the nasal spray form of the vaccine was ineffective.

The new study, which found the opposite, was done by a Canadian team of researchers who ran a three-year blinded and randomized trial in a Hutterite colony, where people live communally and are relatively isolated from cities and towns.

The researchers randomly assigned 1,186 children in 52 Hutterite colonies in Alberta and Saskatchewan to receive either the nasal spray vaccine or the flu shot and also followed 3,425 community members who did not receive a flu vaccine.

Average vaccine coverage among children in the nasal spray group was 76.9 per cent versus 72.3 per cent in the flu shot group, the study showed.

Dr. Mark Loeb, the study’s leader, says the findings are now especially important, given the current recommendation. “The ACIP’s decision was an unprecedented decision in influenza vaccine policy-making for children,” he says.

Vaccine manufacturers had projected that as many as 171 million to 176 million doses of flu vaccine, in all forms, would be available for the U.S., which includes as many as 14 million doses of the nasal flu, or about 8 percent of the total projected supply.  The nasal vaccine, originally approved in 2003, is often viewed as preferable for children and adolescents.

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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A new study finds that the nasal flu vaccine protects as well as the traditional flu shot, despite a government recommendation to the contrary.
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2016-00-16
Tuesday, 16 Aug 2016 04:00 PM
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