October 31st, 2018
ACPeds Parent Talk

Keeping parents up to date on the latest news in child and teen health
Is Flu Mist Being Underrated?
Every year, influenza kills between 12,000 and 49,000 people and can send more than 700,000 people to the hospital, according to the CDC .

The 2017-2018 influenza (flu) season was by most accounts the heaviest season in many years, with CDC reporting the highest severity across all age groups since 2003, including over 183 pediatric flu-associated deaths.
Perhaps uncoincidentally, it was also the second season in a row after 12 years of widespread use that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), known as FluMist, was removed from the market at the advice of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) due to evidence of inferior performance after the 2012-2013 season.

Now, FluMist is available, but the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) is recommending that it “…may be used for children who would not otherwise receive an influenza vaccine…,” but that the “…inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV or shot]” is the “primary choice for influenza vaccination in children.”

According to a commentary written by ACPeds member Dr. Scott Field , "This concern about lesser efficacy from FluMist, however, is poorly founded for a number of reasons...[and] perhaps there would have been less pediatric morbidity and mortality if LAIV had not been taken from the U.S. market."

Fortunately, this next season is likely to be a light season, but LAIV is also likely to be underutilized due to the official recommendations described above. For more information and research on the effectiveness of FluMist (LAIV) compared to the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), click here to read Dr. Field's full commentary.

Nevertheless, the flu vaccine can prevent infections and save the lives of children. So if your child has not been immunized against flu, please consider it as soon as possible.

If you have questions regarding your child's flu vaccine options , ask your pediatrician. If you don't feel comfortable doing so or your family is in between providers, please don't hesitate to reach out . We want to hear from you and answer any concerns or questions you may have about getting your child vaccinated against the flu.

For more information:

Want to read articles that can help you and your family become happier and healthier? Check out our other Parent Talk articles at www.acpeds.org/parent-talk and the ACPeds blog at www.acpeds.org/blog . To receive articles like these straight to your inbox, visit www.acpeds.org/subscribe to subscribe to the blog and click here to subscribe to the Parent Talk newsletter.
American College of Pediatricians | admin@acpeds.org | www.acpeds.org | 352-376-1877