The FluMist Inflenza vaccine has been highly ineffective the past few flu seasons. And experts are saying it is going to be a completely useless preventative measure again this year.
The shock and horror children and needle phobes everywhere must be experiencing.
Experts recently announced that the nasal spray brand of the flu vaccine is basically worthless and should not be used this year. This announcement could leave pediatricians short on vaccines this flu season as approximately one third of does are administered to children.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviewed the data from the past few flu seasons and found it hasn’t worked in recent years. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), FluMist was only 3 percent effective during the last flu season.
“How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including characteristics of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and even which vaccine is used,” the CDC said.
How Flu Vaccines Work
Flu vaccines are different from most other vaccines. Their effectiveness varies from year to year and they must be made fresh each flu season to match circulating strains of influenza, which also change.
The vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the dose is administered. These antibodies provide protection against infection through the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the flu viruses that researchers believe will be most common during the upcoming season.
FluMist which is made by MedImmune, uses live but weakened strains of flu virus to stimulate the immune system. It’s sprayed up the nose and in seasons past, it had been reported to be more effective than some injected vaccines.
Why don’t the vaccines work?
There are three primary reasons the vaccine may not work well.
First, the flu vaccines are among the least effective vaccines available because flu viruses mutate so quickly making the vaccine unproductive.
Secondly, the vaccine formula doesn’t match the current strand of flu that is circulating
Lastly, the vaccinated individual has a weakened immune system.
Should I still get vaccinated this year?
The CDC recommends that just about everyone should receive a flu shot annually– Even when the vaccines on the market are not as effective. People receiving vaccinations are less likely to get severely ill, have complications, and die from flu.
According to the CDC, So far, this year people receiving the vaccine were 59 percent less likely to get sick with the flu than people who didn’t.
“This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” said the CDC’s Dr. Joseph Bresee. “It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.”
The very young and the very old are the hardest hit by influenza. Depending on the season, it can kill anywhere between 4,000 and 50,000 people a year in the US.