FluMist No Longer Recommended
Advanced Pediatrics to Respect the New Findings: No Nasal Spray for Flu Protection this Fall, only the Shot
It seems every year, the immunization effort to prevent infections from the influenza virus, which causes 1/3 of all wintertime colds and flus, has a twist.
One year, it was a national shortage of all flu immunizations. Last year, it was a severe shortage of the nasal form of the immunization, FluMist.
Today, the surprise are recently shared findings from the CDC that the FluMist, long a better performer than the shot, no longer works as well.
Today, the CDC announced that the FluMist product has slipped. It now fails to protect as many as 20% of children who might get it as well as the shot. The CDC committee charged with monitoring immunization policy came out with a formal recommendation that we no longer use it:
This is truly breaking news. The data on how well FluMist performed compared to the flu shot were made available to the CDC a few weeks ago, and the CDC presented their conclusions on them just today.
This is also remarkable news for two reasons:
1. Until today, the reported literature on how the FluMist works showed it worked better than the flu shot.
2. Almost all live vaccines work better than dead ones. FluMist is a live vaccine, the flu shot is a dead form of the influenza immunization.
It appears this new development reflects problems in the manufacture of FluMist, which were foreshadowed last year by the failure of the company to even deliver the product.
Although a surprise, it is truly surprising, and unprecedented in our experience, to see a product we have vetted and trusted turn into one we can no longer trust, we cannot use it this year.
Although a disappointment, we much prefer the pain free approach of a nasal spray to a shot, we cannot use it this year.
We hope that next year the company that makes FluMist gets it right, but the CDC finds it has not, so we cannot use it this year.
1. A surprise set of findings from last year's flu epidemics finds that FluMist, long the superior choice, no longer works as well as the flu shot in preventing infections from the influenza virus.
2. The CDC's committee on immunization practice voted yesterday to recommend not using FluMist this upcoming flu season.
3. THEREFORE, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY ADVANCED PEDIATRICS WILL NOT OFFER THE NASAL SPRAY FORM OF FLU IMMUNIZATION THIS FALL. ONLY THE SHOT FORM OF FLU IMMUNIZATION WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE.
4. The shot form works well, and it turns out hurts less than many fear. It is what we used almost entirely last year, and will work well again this year.
5. If and when the manufacturer of FluMist develops a product the CDC works better than the flu shot, Advanced Pediatrics will consider using it once more, but not this year.
Stay tuned for announcements for when FluFest 2016, our fun provision of easy access to influenza immunization, featuring Mitchell's Ice Cream, will be later this year.
To Your Health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin
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