Flu shot and flu nasal spray findings contradict CDC recommendations

By Rebecca Burton • Published: November 11th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The kids are back in school and the germs have begun to spread. That means it’s time for children and parents alike to get a flu vaccine. In recent years, there were two choices: nasal spray or a shot. But this flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the nasal spray flu vaccine shouldn’t be used, given concerns about its ineffectiveness.

Now a study published recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine is challenging that recommendation. Researchers found the nasal spray and the traditional shot provide a similar level of protection against the flu virus.

The research team conducted a three-year clinical trial in Hutterite colonies in Canada, where people live communally and are isolated from bigger cities. The team randomly assigned nearly twelve-hundred children in 52 different Hutterite colonies to receive either the shot or the spray. As a control, they also recorded data from more than thirty-four-hundred residents who were not vaccinated.

The results showed the spray was effective for 76.9 of those who received it, while the shot had a 72.3 percent effective rate.

The study was the first blind, randomized controlled trial to investigate this subject, and the team will continue to study different vaccine formulations and the effects of repeated vaccination in children.

The CDC recommends everyone over 6 months of age get a flu shot every year, and the study doesn’t negate those recommendations. But for this year at least, if you want a flu vaccination, prepare to get stuck.