Nasal spray flu vaccine no longer effective, CDC says

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CLEVELAND--  When it comes to your kids getting the flu vaccine this season, the easier method is no longer on the market.

The nasal spray form of the vaccine has now been deemed ineffective.

When it comes to getting immunization, kids like 4-year-old Spencer have a tough time sitting still.

"They kind of had to hold him down like on his legs, and then there was like three people in the room, so it kind of terrified my kids even more," Kelly Warfeld said.

Many other parents are predicting the same scenario now that the flu mist vaccine is no longer available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers found no evidence that the mist was effective.

In fact, the CDC said it reviewed data from 2013 through 2016 to assess the effectiveness of the nasal spray for children aged 2 to 17. The new studies found the flu mist offered kids virtually zero protection against the flu.

But why now?

Cleveland Clinic pediatric infectious disease physician, Charles Foster, said is not known why the nasal flu vaccine was less effective than the injectable vaccine.  Each year, the efficacy data is reviewed and new recommendations are released.  It is still important that children get vaccinated every year, because immunity wanes and changes are made to the vaccine.  This year, out of an abundance of caution, the recommendation is to only use the injectable vaccine.

"Every year there are subtle changes in the genetic make-up of the viruses that circulate. And sometimes, like back when we had the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, there are very significant changes in the strains that circulate," said Dr. Foster.

In the past, the CDC said the nasal flu vaccine accounts for one third of all flu vaccines given to children.

The agency has been working with the vaccine maker to ensure there will be enough of the traditional flu vaccine to meet demand this season.

The CDC said the traditional flu shot is 63 percent effective in children between 2 and 17. Believe it or not, now is the best time to get the vaccine, which usually stays in the system between six to eight months.

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