Flu vaccines are never pleasant, whether it’s a shot or nasal mist you’re receiving.
Getting vaccinated is about to get worse.
Officials with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisory recommend not using the nasal spray this flu season.
Since the mist made its debut in 2003, studies show that it’s more effective in children than the shot.
While other studies show it’s not nearly as effective for any age group.
The question is, which study is the most accurate?
“Historically, it’s been a recommendation to offer the flu mist to children,” Dr. Matthew Simmon MD, an infectious disease specialist at the Berkeley Medical Center says, “We don’t offer the flu mist to adults.”
As an alternative to the flu shot, the FDA approved the mist for people between the ages of 2 to 49, but after reviewing data complied by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), officials say the mist under performs compared to the shot.
“With the flu shot being easier to give and easier to make sure people got it correctly, I think the flu shot is more ideal for mass vaccinations, which is really what we try to do to ensure the community is healthy,” Dr. Simmons says.
The main difference between the flu shot and the flu mist is the virus itself.
In the mist, the influenza virus is live, but weakened, before it’s shot through the nose.
In the shot, the virus is inactive, and the body uses pieces of the virus to create anti-bodies.
Now, the CDC advisory committee recommends not using the flu mist at all this season no matter your age.
Doctor Simmons recommends the shot over the mist as well.
“Flu shots are a way to make sure that it gets to the source,” Dr. Simmons explains, “If you’re expecting someone to inhale [the virus], you have to worry about, is the person inhaling the flu mist the right way, breathing the right way…?”
According to medical statistics, many adults still prefer the shot due to its history of effectiveness and administration.
In the end, Dr. Simmons says it’s just important to get vaccinated.
Dr. Simmons also says it’s important to get your shot at the correct time.
Since flu season typically runs from October to March, August is too early for a shot.
Getting a shot later, in September, is more effective.