Nasal Flu Vaccines Return for 2018-2019

ACIP supports the needle-free FluMist vaccine for children aged 2 through 4 years in the USA

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The 2018-19 flu season's vaccine market will be influenced by the return of nasal spray vaccines, according to Kalorama Information. 

In September 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved FluMist for children aged 2 through 4 years, making a needle-free influenza vaccine available for small children in the U.S. for the first time.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) did not recommend the nasal flu vaccine during for the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 flu seasons, citing its poor effectiveness.

But, the CDC now is supporting the use of nasal spray vaccines for the 2018-2019 season. 

"From a market perspective, additional delivery mechanisms add users and are expansive," said Bruce Carlson, Publisher of Kalorama Information

Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people, such as the following:

  • There are flu shots approved for use in children as young as 6 months of age
  • More powerful flu shots approved for use in adults 65 years and older
  • Flu shots also are recommended for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions 

And now, the CDC has authorized the nasal spray flu vaccine approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age, though there are people with some medical conditions who should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine, says the CDC. 

MedImmune's FluMist was the first influenza vaccine delivered as a nasal mist to be commercially available in the United States. FluMist contains live attenuated influenza viruses that replicate in the nasopharynx of the recipient and are shed in respiratory secretions. 

In northern temperate regions, influenza occurs in winter epidemics that affect 1% – 5% of the population. Several studies have estimated the costs of certain recent flu epidemics at $1 - $2 billion. 

The rates of influenza infection are highest in children, but severe morbidity and mortality are more common among the elderly and in specific high-risk groups such as those with asthma, diabetes mellitus, or heart disease, says the CDC. 

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Each year, influenza and pneumonia account for 50,000 to 80,000 deaths and about 400,000 hospitalizations in the United States alone. 

During the last flu season, the CDC confirmed 183 pediatric deaths related to influenza. 

However, the CDC estimates that flu vaccination prevents, on average, 6 million illnesses, 3 million doctor visits, and at least 70,000 hospitalizations. 

Therefore, flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older, especially pregnant women and those at high risk of complications, including the elderly, children younger than 5 years and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

If you have questions, it's best to speak with your doctor, nurse or pharmacists.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector prices for general information.

Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

The report can be found here.