Is the Nasal Spray Form of the Flu Vaccine More Effective?

With flu season just around the corner, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the nasal spray form of the flu vaccine is the preferred way to vaccinate kids ages 2 to 8, according to a Fox News report. This is the first time that the CDC has advised on a specific vaccination method, but new studies have shown the nasal spray to work especially well in preventing flu in children in this age group.

No vaccination is an absolute guarantee against contracting the flu, but studies now show that the nasal spray form of the vaccination prevented 50 percent more flu cases than a flu shot in kids 2- to 8-years-old. For children ages 9 and older, the CDC does not express a preference. These children should also be vaccinated against the flu and can choose either the traditional flu shot or the nasal spray method. The CDC also recommends that parents do not delay getting their children protected ahead of flu season. If the nasal spray is not available, the agency urges parents to have their kids get the shot instead.

There is a group of children for whom the nasal spray flu vaccine is not appropriate, including kids who are taking regular aspirin or other regular medications containing aspirin, kids with an allergy to eggs, and children ages 2 to 4 who have shown asthma or wheezing symptoms in the past year. Children who received antiviral medications in the past two days and kids with weakened immune systems should also avoid the spray. Your pediatrician can answer questions and help you decide on the best and safest way to protect your child from the flu.

Kids who are getting flu vaccine for the first time should receive two doses, according to the CDC. Children who have received the vaccination previously will need just one dose. All nasal spray vaccinations are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four strains of the flu virus.