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Intranasal Flu Vaccine Was Ineffective Last Year, Doctors Say

The intranasal flu vaccine, commonly known as FluMist, has been given to thousands of adults and children since it was introduced in 2003, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising against it.

The recommendation comes after the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices conducted a study, and found some unfortunate results.

“Last year, the live attenuated vaccine, or the nasal spray, was about 3 percent effective, or essentially ineffective,” said David Malouf, a doctor at the Utah State University Health and Wellness Center.


He said it’s important for people to get the flu shot, even if they dislike needles, because the symptoms of the disease can keep a person in bed for seven to 10 days.


“Influenza is a disease that typically is associated with a high fever, a cough, horrible body aches, and just kind of a sense of impending doom. People really feel awful,” Malouf said.


Hank Bernstein, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said his organization is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and influenza manufacturers to make sure everyone has access to the appropriate vaccine.


“The manufacturers expect to have an adequate supply in order to make up for no nasal spray flu vaccine being available in the U.S. this coming season,” he said.


The flu vaccine given via injection has been tested to be 63 percent effective, Malouf said.

He said flu season generally runs from October through May, and most vaccination centers in Utah will have the vaccination ready to go around mid-September.