New Version of Nasal Flu Vaccine to Return for Next Season

Courtesy MGN CDC

Courtesy MGN CDC

AstraZeneca announced that ACIP, an advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has voted in favor of a renewed recommendation for the use of the company's FluMist Quadrivalent (influenza vaccine live, intranasal) for the 2018-2019 season.

A federal panel says it's OK for doctors to start using a kid-friendly nasal spray flu vaccine again.

The CDC estimates this year's flu shot is 36 percent effective against both A and B virus strains, but experts still advise people to get the vaccine. This was in comparison to the flu shot, which was 65 percent effective across all strains, according to CNN. That reverses an ACIP decision to stop endorsing the inhaled version of the vaccine after the 2015-2016 flu season. It'll be available in the US after the Food and Drug Administration approves the strain.

Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told STAT that many physician offices have already ordered vaccine stocks for next flu season. It is approved for ages 2 through 49. The vaccine has remained recommended for use and available in Canada and the European Union.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that researchers tested the new version of FluMist on 200 USA kids aged 2 to 4, and found it was 23 percent effective in preventing the flu.

For the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 flu seasons, the ACIP had recommended that FluMist not be used due to concerns about its effectiveness against influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses during the 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 influenza seasons.

Currently, the United States is going through a particularly tough flu season, with severe cases at epidemic levels and hospitals clogged with patients battling the illness.

AstraZeneca says it will supply FluMist to the USA market next season.

Also, a recent study found that removing the nasal spray vaccine from the market did not prompt a drop in child immunizations, at least in Oregon.

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