Don’t bother with flu mist – according to Dr. Marc ‘it’s worthless’

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Parents may cringe at the thought of their child having to get a shot to protect them from the  flu virus this year. According to renowned Cleveland Clinic heart surgeon Dr. Marc Gillinov, given a choice between the 'flu mist' and the 'flu shot'  -- new research points to the shot as the most effective way to protect our kids.

Fox 8's Wayne Dawson talked to Dr. Marc about recent studies giving a 'thumbs down' to the once popular flu mist vaccine.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Marc Gillinov.

 ADULTS FLU SHOTS

  • The flu is a contagious and serious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Anyone can get sick from the flu and it can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death, even in normal healthy people.
  • Everyone ages 6 months and older should get a flu vaccination to protect themselves and others against the flu.
  • Some people, such as older adults ages 65+, young children and people with certain health conditions are at higher risk for serious flu complications.
  • The best time to get the flu vaccination is early autumn. It can take 2-4 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection.
  • While annual vaccination is the best tool for flu prevention, it’s also important to practice everyday preventive actions.
  • Flu viruses are constantly changing and it's not unusual for new seasonal flu viruses to appear each year.
  • Sometimes the virus evolves from previously circulating human seasonal flu viruses; these are said to be “drifted” viruses. A less-than-ideal match against the virus may result, but vaccination can still provide some protection against influenza illness.
  • Cleveland Clinic offers flu clinics throughout the region. The complete list of locations and dates is on org/flu.

What is the nasal spray flu vaccine?

  • The nasal spray flu vaccine is the only non-injection flu vaccine on the market; and is made up of live, weakened flu viruses.

Who can get the nasal spray flu vaccine?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously approved the use of the nasal spray flu vaccine in healthy children 2 years of age and up as well as healthy/non-pregnant adults 18 – 49 years in age.

 Why has the CDC recommended against the use of the nasal spray flu vaccine?

  • The CDC’s panel of immunization experts based their recommendations on data that shows the nasal spray flu vaccine provided poor or low protection against the flu from 2013-2016.
  • The nasal spray flu vaccine provided only 3% protection against the flu last season. That compares with 63% for the flu shot.

Do experts know why it doesn’t work as well as the flu shot?

  • Experts aren’t sure why the nasal spray flu vaccine has performed poorly as of late.
  • Once we find out why it didn’t work, there can certainly be changes made so that the nasal spray flu vaccine can have equivalent efficacy again.

 Will Cleveland Clinic Children’s continue offering nasal spray flu vaccines to its patients?

  • In the upcoming flu season, Cleveland Clinic Children’s will only offer patients the flu shot containing inactivated (or killed) flu viruses.
  • While the flu shot may cause some temporary pain, we want parents to know that it will be the best way to protect their child from the flu this year.
  • The flu can be dangerous and causes thousands of deaths each year, so it’s important your child is vaccinated.
  • Children, especially young children, transmit viruses very easily to each other and to adults.
  • When we can protect a child against influenza, we’re not only protecting that particular child against the complications of flu, we’re also protecting the people around them.
  • For more information on flu vaccinations, please visit clevelandclinic.org/flu