THE LOW-DOWN ON FLU SHOT VS. FLU MIST & WHY WE PREFER THE SHOT THIS 2018-19 FLU SEASON
Written by: Dr. Karen Prentice
Last influenza season (2017-18) was one of the most severe seasons on record. Thousands of children were hospitalized due to influenza and 179 children lost their lives to influenza-associated deaths. According to the CDC, of those children who died, 80% had not received a flu vaccination.
As most of you are aware, for the past two flu seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18) the CDC (Center for Disease Control), ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices), and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) have recommended using the flu shot and avoiding the FluMist (spray up the nose) based on studies showing poor efficacy, meaning poor protection against influenza from the FluMist. We at Great Destinations Pediatrics agreed and only provided our patients with the flu shot.
This year however, the CDC and ACIP recommend everyone 6 months and older get the Flu vaccine and are recommending Flu mist as an option. However, if you read the fine print
the CDC and ACIP simply want everyone to get vaccinated, feel the flu shot is a better option than the FluMist, but for those “who would not otherwise get the flu vaccine” the FluMist is preferred over not vaccinating at all (i.e. it’s better than nothing).
What does the AAP say?
This year the AAP prefers the flu shot over the FluMist for the following reasons:
- FluMist offered inferior protection in the past
- FluMist effectiveness is unknown for this upcoming flu season
The AAP does agree with the CDC stating for those healthy children over 2 years old “who would not otherwise get the influenza vaccine” the FluMist is an option.
What do your pediatricians at Great Destinations Pediatrics say?
Since the FluMist for the 2018-19 influenza season is a new formulation and there are no published effectiveness estimates and considering that influenza can be devastating and life-threatening even for healthy individuals, we are recommending the flu shot over FluMist and strongly urge everyone 6 months and up to get vaccinated.
We will be starting our Flu Clinics in October. For your convenience, Where the Garden Grows Medical Clinic is offering the flu shot for parents, grandparents, and other family members. This clinic is not contracted with any insurance companies and the charge for the flu shot is $30.00.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy year!
Your Doctors at GDP