In case you haven’t heard, the flu nasal spray is not recommended for the 2016-2017 flu season. For those of you afraid of needles, this isn’t necessarily what you want to hear, but it’s for your benefit.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone aged 6 months or older receive an influenza vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible.
In the past, patients have had the option of either having the vaccine injected via needle or administered via nasal spray. Folks who are needle-shy – about 20 million of you – tend to opt for the nasal spray.
In fact, about a third of all children who were immunized in 2015 chose the nasal spray.
However, concerns arose last year about the effectiveness of the spray and this year the CDC is explicitly not recommending it.
The nasal spray contains a weakened, live flu virus intended to provoke a stronger reaction from the body’s defenses while the flu shot delivers an inactivated virus.
A CDC committee determined in June that the nasal spray showed just a 3 percent effectiveness rate in protecting against the flu among kids 2 to 17 in the 2015-16 season.
While there’s no clear explanation for the decrease in effectiveness, the influenza vaccine is still a very safe and effective option. And it only hurts for a few seconds – we promise!