Nasal spray vaccine not recommended for 2016-17 flu season, according to CDC

SALT LAKE CITY –A less painful option to protect against influenza has been taken away.

FluMist nasal spray is not being recommended for use during the 2016-17 flu season because of concerns about its effectiveness, according to the The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say the flu shot is the best option to vaccinate against the virus.

“I don’t think the absence of the nasal spray has made a huge difference in people attempt to market the vaccine,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, Chief of Pediatrics and Infectious Disease at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Pavia said even without FluMist this year, parents will still force their children to get the shot.

“I think parents understand that flu shots are important and although they are disappointed not to have the mist available they will bring their kids in,” he said.

While flu-shot ads are up at pharmacies across the Salt Lake Valley, there is a debate on whether now is too early to get the vaccine.

“The controversy was really about whether to start in August or September -- the controversy about when to start is really a false controversy," Pavia said. "The best time to get the flu shot is when you have time to do it.”

However, there is one group of people who should time their vaccination every year.

“If people over 65 are over enthusiastic about getting their vaccine at the end of August or the beginning of September and it’s a really late flu season, their protection might have decreased a bit.”

Pavia said if you have a child between 6 months old and 9 years old they need two flu vaccines, scheduled one month apart; protection begins two weeks after the second shot.

He also said the vaccine does not work well for those under 6 months old, those who are fighting cancer or have a weak immune system.

“Their best protection is you getting your flu-shot and not bringing the flu home to them and that’s why we really advocate the whole family getting vaccinated to cocoon the most vulnerable,” Pavia said.