Flu shot may be more effective than nasal vaccine, study says

When it comes to vaccinating yourself -- or your kids -- against the flu, there are two options in the Unite...

Posted: Jan 7, 2019 11:05 AM
Updated: Jan 7, 2019 11:05 AM

When it comes to vaccinating yourself -- or your kids -- against the flu, there are two options in the United States: a traditional shot or a nasal spray.

Yet among children, the nasal spray appeared to have reduced effectiveness against the flu, compared with the shot, in past flu seasons, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Communicable disease control

Diseases and disorders

Health and medical

Infectious diseases

Influenza

Public health

Vaccination and immunization

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Children

Children's health

Continents and regions

Demographic groups

Families and children

Family members and relatives

Government organizations - US

Health and health care (by demographic group)

Maternal and child health

Medical fields and specialties

North America

Pediatrics

Population and demographics

Society

The Americas

United States

US Department of Health and Human Services

US federal departments and agencies

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Drug efficacy

Drug safety, efficacy and availability

Pharmaceuticals

That finding, which involved analyzing data from several previous studies, seems to align with existing research.

"We were able to better describe vaccine effectiveness in age groups that the individual studies were not able to due to small sample sizes," said Jessie Chung, first author of the study and an epidemiologist in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.

The flu shot in the study is an inactivated influenza vaccine. The nasal spray, FluMist, is a live attenuated influenza vaccine. Though the viruses in FluMist are live, they have been weakened -- attenuated, in medical terms -- and work by stimulating the immune system.

MedImmune, a subsidiary of London-based AstraZeneca PLC, produces FluMist, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2003.

Two of the new study's 10 authors are employees of AstraZeneca, but Chung said the company was not directly involved in the study's analysis.

For the 2018-19 flu season, which began in October, three types of vaccine are available in the United States: the inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV, administered as a shot; the recombinant influenza vaccine or RIV, also administered as a shot; and the live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV, administered as a nasal spray.

"CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older with any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine -- IIV, RIV4 or LAIV4 -- with no preference expressed for any one vaccine over another," Chung said.

For the past two flu seasons, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of immunization experts, has not recommended the nasal spray. However, it was recommended again this flu season.

Dr. Pedro Piedra, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, wrote an editorial accompanying the study in Pediatrics. He noted that the committee's latest recommendation for the use of the nasal spray was based, in part, on new manufacturer data revealing improvements to performance. That new data was not included in the new study.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the inactivated flu shot as the primary choice for children "because it has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of the flu virus in recent years."

The new study included data from five previously published studies on vaccine effectiveness during the 2013-14 and 2015-16 flu seasons. The data included 17,173 children, ages 2 to 17, from 42 states.

After combining data from all flu seasons, the researchers found that vaccine effectiveness against any type of flu virus was 51% for the inactivated flu shot vs. 26% for the nasal spray.

The study had some limitations, including that it relied on information provided in those previously published data.

"Despite combining data, we were still limited by sample size in some of our analyses," Chung said. Additionally, more research is needed to determine whether similar findings would emerge in data from other flu seasons.

Some pediatricians, including Dr. Tanya Altmann, may prefer the nasal spray because that vaccine might not be as painful as a flu shot for their young patients. Of her three sons, Altmann said, two were given the FluMist this year, and one was given the shot.

"I've been practicing now for almost 20 years, and I did use the FluMist a lot when it was available, and I found that patients liked it because it wasn't a shot -- and, despite the study, I always felt like in my clinical practice it worked about as well as the shot," said Altmann, founder of Calabasas Pediatrics Wellness Center in California and an American Academy of Pediatrics spokeswoman, who was not involved in the new study.

"The study did not include this current flu season, which from my understanding is a newly formulated FluMist vaccine. So the FluMist vaccine that I'm giving today in my office this season is different from the one that was studied. Only time will tell how effective the current FluMist vaccine is," said Altmann, who is also author of the book "Baby and Toddler Basics."

"I'm still hopeful," she added. "I have no connection with the company. I just feel like it's a good option, and I like the changes they made, and I want to give it another chance."

Regardless of the type of flu vaccine your family may prefer, Altmann said, what remains most important is getting vaccinated.

Nineteen states have high levels of flu activity, and 13 flu-related pediatric deaths have been reported during the current season so far, according to numbers the CDC released Friday.

While a flu vaccine is not 100% effective, it does lessen the severity of symptoms and the duration of illness in those who might get the flu.

"We know hands-down that getting any flu vaccine is better than getting no flu vaccine. So talk to your pediatrician or your doctor about what's available this season," Altmann said. "It's not too late to still get a flu vaccine if you haven't already because the flu is here. It's everywhere, and it's rapidly spreading and very contagious."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 96734

Reported Deaths: 2060
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin27177931
Ramsey10985320
Dakota7585126
Anoka6182135
Stearns404524
Washington384155
Scott260333
Olmsted247328
Nobles197516
Blue Earth17146
Wright16647
St. Louis161841
Carver14297
Clay141140
Rice13438
Mower13365
Sherburne116114
Kandiyohi10262
Winona90618
Lyon7134
Waseca6898
Benton5583
Steele5532
Freeborn5444
Nicollet54217
Crow Wing53318
Watonwan5304
Chisago5071
Todd5022
McLeod4942
Le Sueur4724
Otter Tail4454
Beltrami4405
Martin42610
Goodhue3769
Itasca33914
Pine3360
Douglas3262
Polk3164
Isanti3071
Becker2802
Carlton2711
Morrison2642
Dodge2480
Pipestone23010
Cottonwood2270
Chippewa2191
Meeker2072
Wabasha2010
Brown1952
Sibley1953
Yellow Medicine1872
Cass1824
Unassigned18052
Rock1760
Murray1702
Redwood1703
Mille Lacs1653
Renville1568
Jackson1501
Faribault1460
Swift1421
Houston1270
Kanabec1268
Roseau1240
Fillmore1230
Koochiching1233
Pennington1201
Lincoln1150
Hubbard1111
Stevens1051
Pope980
Big Stone830
Aitkin811
Wadena690
Wilkin663
Grant624
Lac qui Parle601
Lake590
Marshall531
Norman530
Mahnomen481
Red Lake451
Traverse310
Clearwater280
Lake of the Woods231
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 86239

Reported Deaths: 1307
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15962262
Woodbury550964
Johnson514727
Black Hawk450090
Linn4078112
Story345317
Dubuque328341
Scott302028
Dallas279838
Pottawattamie214139
Buena Vista199212
Marshall179034
Sioux16463
Wapello133457
Webster127214
Plymouth115521
Clinton112421
Muscatine111155
Crawford10915
Cerro Gordo105821
Warren9656
Jasper84532
Des Moines7978
Marion7637
Henry7464
Tama73231
Carroll6745
Lee6397
Wright5921
Dickinson5286
Boone5118
Bremer4957
Washington46611
Louisa42915
Delaware4103
Mahaska41019
Floyd3523
Franklin35018
Jackson3503
Winneshiek3396
Lyon3324
Clay3284
Hamilton3273
Benton3241
Winnebago31513
Hardin3041
Poweshiek3048
Buchanan2851
Jones2763
Kossuth2740
Butler2712
Shelby2671
Clarke2663
Emmet26510
Allamakee2646
Clayton2613
Chickasaw2570
Sac2570
Cherokee2512
Cedar2501
Guthrie2456
Harrison2413
Fayette2272
Grundy2233
Madison2232
Iowa2131
Palo Alto2030
Mitchell1910
Howard1906
Humboldt1903
Hancock1882
Calhoun1853
Mills1811
Page1700
Cass1692
Osceola1680
Pocahontas1632
Monroe15911
Monona1571
Lucas1566
Appanoose1393
Jefferson1391
Union1373
Taylor1311
Davis1274
Fremont1220
Ida1221
Van Buren1141
Keokuk1091
Worth1080
Greene1010
Montgomery975
Wayne872
Audubon821
Adair721
Decatur670
Ringgold522
Adams330
Unassigned230
Rochester
Broken Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Mason City
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Albert Lea
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Austin
Broken Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 44°
Charles City
Broken Clouds
48° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Much Cooler Week Ahead
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Sara's Evening Forecast - Monday

Image

Increase in permit to carry applications

Image

Elder Network aims to improves lives of seniors

Image

Olmsted County Public Health gives update

Image

Construction Class For Pine Island Students

Image

Premier Bank Collecting Donations

Image

School Meal Plans In Albert Lea

Image

Professor Reacts To Trump'

Image

Sean's Weather 9/28

Image

40,000 mail-in ballots sent out

Community Events