The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement saying that FluMist, a needle-free nasal flu vaccine, is ineffective.
According to the CDC, the FluMist vaccine was only 3% effective at reducing the risk for contracting influenza last flu season and is not recommended for patients in the 2016-2017 season. This new recommendation means that children and adults living in the US will have to revert back to the needle injections.
Needle-free FluMist is manufactured by biotechnology company MedImmune and owned by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. It has been available since 2012 and is often preferred by parents and children because it does not require an injection. The spray comes in a syringe design without a needle and is applied in each nostril to deliver a premeasured dose of medication that protects against the A and B strains of the virus.
In a response statement, AstraZeneca indicated that it is working closely with the CDC to better understand the data analyzed by the advisory committee in order to provide an effective FluMist vaccine to eligible patients in future flu seasons.
CDC Flu Season Recommendations
Flu vaccines are developed each year by formulating a pharmaceutical cocktail that protects against specific strains of the virus. However, last year’s vaccine formulation that was supposed to protect against the H1N1 flu, H3N2 strain, and one or two influenza B strains failed for unknown reasons. Researchers indicated that the failure of last year’s FluMist could be a result of an unstable or ineffective H1N1 pathogen.
The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 should get vaccinated against the flu every year before the start of the season in the summer. While this failure may cause some doubt about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in general, this report simply indicates that the formulation in FluMist was ineffective at protecting against last year’s strains, and does not include all flu vaccines. Talk to your doctor to determine the best method to protect yourself against the flu. If you contract the flu, medications such as Tamiflu can be purchased at a discount using drug coupons from HelpRx.