What is FluMist Flu Vaccine?
FluMist is a seasonal flu vaccine that's sprayed into the nose. Similar to the chicken pox vaccine, FluMist contains a weakened live virus. The weakened live virus in FluMist is designed not to cause the flu, but to help protect you from influenza through the end of flu season.
Quick Facts about FluMist:
- One spray, each nostril, so no needles
- Contains the 3 strains recommeneded by the CDC
- Preservative free
- Available for people 2 to 49
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How effective is the nasal-spray seasonal flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
In one large study among children aged 15-85 months, the seasonal nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) reduced the chance of influenza illness by 92% compared with placebo. In a study among adults, the participants were not specifically tested for influenza. However, the study found 19% fewer severe febrile respiratory tract illnesses, 24% fewer respiratory tract illnesses with fever, 23-27% fewer days of illness, 13-28% fewer lost work days, 15-41% fewer health care provider visits, and 43-47% less use of antibiotics compared with placebo.
Who can be vaccinated with the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
LAIV (FluMist®) is approved for use in healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.
Does the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) contain thimerosal?
No, the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) does not contain thimerosal or any other preservative.
Can people who received inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) last year get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) this year?
Yes, people who got inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) last year can get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) this year.
Can the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) be given to patients when they are ill?
The nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) can be given to people with minor illnesses (e.g., diarrhea or mild upper respiratory tract infection with or without fever). However, if nasal congestion is present that might limit delivery of the vaccine to the nasal lining, then delaying of vaccination until the nasal congestion is reduced should be considered.
Can the nasal spray flu vaccine give you the flu?
Unlike the flu shot, the nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated (weakened) and cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist. Some children and young adults 2-17 years of age have reported experiencing mild reactions after receiving nasal spray flu vaccine, including runny nose, nasal congestion or cough, chills, tiredness/weakness, sore throat and headache. Some adults 18-49 years of age have reported runny nose or nasal congestion, cough, chills, tiredness/weakness, sore throat and headache. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of influenza infection.
Who should not be vaccinated with the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
- People less than 2 years of age
- People 50 years of age and over
- People with a medical condition that places them at high risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system.
- Children <5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing
- Children or adolescents receiving aspirin
- People with a history of Guillain–Barrß Syndrome that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine
- Pregnant women
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components