MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This year, there’s a new recommendation when it comes to getting a flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the nasal spray vaccine is an acceptable alternative to the flu shot — and it may be just as effective.
The nasal spray was not recommended by the CDC the past two flu seasons, but the agency now says it is an acceptable choice.
But the flu mist is not for everyone.
WCCO’s Angela Davis talked with a vaccine specialist today to learn more about the difference.
“For several seasons the flu mist, the nasal mist, did not work as well as the injectable,” said vaccine specialist at Children’s Minnesota Joseph Kurland. “That company went back, reformulated their product and is back now with new data showing it has improved generation of antibodies.”
Kurland says for young children, the flu vaccine is especially needed.
“They cough at each other, they don’t really think about washing their hands or covering their mouths when they do things, fingers go where fingers go with young kids, and it’s a risk for spreading infection.”
The flu mist and the shot work differently. The nasal spray contains a live virus that is created to only survive in the nose. Its presence helps the body make antibodies to fight the flu.
The shot is a dead virus injected into muscle. It also stimulates the body to make those protective antibodies.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics prefers the injectable vaccine over the nasal mist, but the data isn’t out saying one is better than the other yet,” Kurland said.
Here’s who should not get the nasal spray, according to the CDC: children under the age of 2, adults 50 and older, pregnant women, young kids with asthma and people with compromised immune systems — they should stick with the flu shot.