Americans should not use the nasal spray flu vaccine during the 2016-2017 flu season, according to new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers said it showed “poor” effectiveness between 2013 and 2016.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) said on Wednesday that it continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone who is six months and older. However, people should only trust traditional methods, at least during the upcoming flu season.

FluMist not recommended for flu season
According to the CDC, Americans should not use the nasal spray flu vaccine during the 2016-2017 flu season. Credit: NPR

The panel of experts has determined that the nasal spray, formally called “attenuated influenza vaccine” (LAIV) showed “relatively low effectiveness” between 2013 and 2016. New findings were obtained from the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network.

Dr. Joseph Bresee, a flu expert at the CDC, told the Associated Press that the institution could not find evidence of the effectiveness of the spray called FluMist. The latter was developed by AstraZeneca, a British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical.

The CDC has not determined what caused the poor performance of FluMist

The ACIP recommended in 2014 the use of FluMist in kids, rather than needle-based flu vaccines. New findings demonstrate that the protection rate provided by the innovative nasal spray was only three percent.

On the other hand, needle-based flu vaccines achieved an effectiveness rate of 63 percent among children between ages 2 and 17, during the 2015-2016 season. Dr. Breese told The Associated Press that FluMist lost potency when AstraZeneca added a fourth strain of influenza to the vaccine.

The ACIP stated that the effectiveness of flu vaccines variate each season, depending on the person, and “similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses.” Vaccines containing live viruses such as the LAIV should achieve stronger immune responses.

The CDC has not determined yet what caused “the recent poor performance of LAIV.” Vaccine manufacturers in the United States estimated that there will be more than 170 doses of flu shots during the 2016-2017 season.

AstraZeneca had projected a supply of 14 million doses of FluMist for the same season. The ACIP remarked that new recommendations would affect decisions taken by health care providers which have already placed vaccine orders.

Federal records calculate that FluMist accounts for one-third of all flu shots given to kids. The CDC is planning to work alongside manufacturers during summer time, to make sure that enough vaccines are produced to satisfy the market demand.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports CDC’s new recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is supporting new recommendations issued by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The institution said on Wednesday that everyone should use traditional vaccines, at least for the coming flu season.

“We do understand this change will be difficult for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients. However the science is compelling that the inactivated vaccine is the best way to protect children from what can be an unpredictable and dangerous virus,” said the APP.

The APP will jointly work with the CDC and vaccine manufacturers to make sure they substitute orders of intranasal vaccines on time. Both institutions recommended the use of FluMist last year.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Press Release