CDC warns nasal flu vaccine ineffective

Doctors not giving nasal flu mist this year

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's almost flu season in Kentuckiana, but there are changes this year in how doctors will administer the flu vaccine.

New research says the nasal mist isn't effective and doctors at Norton Healthcare will only be giving the flu shot this year.

The FDA still says the nasal spray is a viable alternative the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn't work.

That information has left local healthcare providers facing some tough decisions with flu season just a few weeks away.

Are you feeling a little under the weather?  With symptoms like a fever, cough, and body aches you may think it's a bug that will simply run its course, but Dr. Amy Garlove says it could be something much more dangerous.

“People think that the flu is just a cold or I don’t feel well for a while, but the flu can really be very dangerous,” said Dr. Garlove.  “It can cause long-term complications and even death.”

For years the only way to protect yourself was by getting a flu shot, or a simple nasal spray.

“For a long time the flu mist, which is known as the nasal spray, is what we thought was most effective,” said Dr. Garlove.  “It’s a live vaccine, and for a while, the research showed that it was more effective than the shot.”

However, as the flu season and the virus itself change from year to year so has the effectiveness of the vaccine so Norton Healthcare has decided not to provide it.

“Last year the flu mist, the nasal spray, was only 3% effective which is very poor,” said Dr. Garlove.  “The vaccine was 63% effective which sounds like it’s not great, but it’s still 63% of people who are not getting the flu.”

Though it’s not 100% effective Dr. Garlove says you should still get the vaccine with flu season right around the corner.

“We haven’t seen any cases in our office yet, but it’s coming,” said Dr. Garlove.

Since the nasal spray is still FDA approved you can still find it at some providers throughout the city, though once again the shot is 60% more effective.

Dr. Garlove says it's also important to ask for the quadrivalent vaccine which protects you against the four most common strains in your area.


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