After 2 years off the market due to ineffectiveness, the FluMist® nasal flu vaccine is set to return to doctors’ offices next year — but will it work better than a traditional flu shot?
An advisory committee to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) voted 12-2 in favor of returning FluMist to the list of recommended flu vaccines for the 2018-2018 flu season.
Unlike traditional flu shots, FluMist contains a live influenza virus that has been weakened so that it is unlikely to cause a flu infection. All other flu shots contain an inactivated (dead) influenza virus.
FluMist commonly causes runny noses, and the nasal secretions (snot) of someone who has received FluMist may remain contagious for up to 28 days.
And while FluMist is a popular option for vaccinating children because it doesn’t require a needle, children with contagious runny noses can potentially spread the flu virus to their caregivers and other children.
Furthermore, FluMist was discontinued in the 2016-2017 flu season and the 2017-2018 flu season because it was only 3% effective at preventing the flu. It is unknown how effective the new FluMist will be.
The manufacturer, MedImmune, said it had fixed a problem with one of the “A” strains included in the vaccine. The new version includes a different H1N1 strain — but the big problem is that it also appeared to increase viral counts in the snot of children who got the new vaccine.