Flu Shot More Effective Than Nasal Vaccine: Study

Yet both methods of vaccination are approved by the CDC.

(Getty Images)
Getty Images

There are two ways of protecting yourself and your family from the flu: via a shot or a nasal spray.

But while many parents go the less painful and shriek-inducing route of the spray, it may be less effective than the shot in safeguarding their kids, CNN reported. This revelation came from a newly published study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

“We were able to better describe vaccine effectiveness in age groups that the individual studies were not able to due to small sample sizes,” said Jessie Chung, lead author of the study and an epidemiologist in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Influenza Division.

The flu shot, as many know, contains an inactivated strain of the flu, while the nasal spray, FluMist, has a live — yet severely weakened — influenza vaccine. The live version is meant to awaken and stimulate the immune system to take action against the virus.

For the past two flu seasons, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of immunization experts, has not recommended the nasal spray. However, it was recommended again this flu season.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the inactivated flu shot as the primary choice for children “because it has provided the most consistent protection against all strains of the flu virus in recent years.”

And the new research seems to back this up. In the study, researchers found that vaccine effectiveness against any type of flu virus was 51% for the inactivated flu shot vs. 26% for the nasal spray.

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