The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) plans to advise families to vaccinate children against influenza with either the flu shot or nasal spray vaccine during the 2019 to 2020 flu season, in contrast to the academy’s preference for the injected vaccine over the nasal spray during the previous two flu seasons, the AAP announced. During the 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 flu seasons, the AAP recommended using the injected vaccine over the nasal spray with the exception of children who refuse the shot.
The quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine
This recommendation was based on previous questions about the nasal spray’s effectiveness and because the spray did not work as well against the influenza A/H1N1 strain in the 2013 to 2014 and 2015 to 2016 seasons. The AAP says that in the 2019 to 2020 flu season, it will support the use of any licensed influenza vaccine, in accordance with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The AAP Board of Directors made the decision based on a review of the most recent data; on the inactivated vaccine and the quadrivalent live attenuated influenza vaccine. The decision was announced now to inform physicians who typically place orders for the vaccine at this time of year.
The formulation to include a new A/H1N1 strain
“All children 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine; in whatever form their pediatrician recommends,” Bonnie Maldonado, M.D.; chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “Every year, we are never sure if the vaccine strains are going to be perfectly matched up with incoming flu strains; but based on the information that we have now, we believe the nasal spray is an acceptable option.”
In 2017 the manufacturer of the nasal spray made changes to the formulation to include a new A/H1N1 strain; and this year infectious disease experts are encouraged by new data from Great Britain that – while dependent on a limited number of cases in other countries – supports the spray’s effectiveness against some strains of influenza. “The flu virus is unpredictable and can cause serious complications even in healthy children,” said Flor M. Munoz, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “Children who have been immunized are less likely be hospitalized due to flu.”
Over all, more children were; vaccinated for the flu last fall compared to the prior year; although much work needs to be; done to raise vaccination rates; according to AAP. About 45 percent of children received the vaccine by November 2018; compared to 38 percent in November 2017, according to the academy.