Canadian study finds nasal spray flu vaccine as effective as shot
A large Canadian study has found that children vaccinated against influenza using a nasal spray appear to be equally protected from the flu as those vaccinated by needle.
The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine just one day after a U.S. committee recommended the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stop endorsing the spray.
Dr. Mark Loeb, lead author on the new study, told CTV News Channel that his study has a “better design” than recent U.S. studies that found the nasal spray vaccine not as effective.
“The bottom line is, (the CDC) should be looking at all of the data, all of the evidence, in particular our study very carefully,” he said.
Loeb said he does not expect the CDC to change its position in time for the 2016-17 flu season, but perhaps in the future.
The three-year study involved giving vaccines by one method or the other to 1,186 children living in relatively isolated Hutterite communities on the Prairies, and then testing them all for Influenza A and B. There was also a control group of kids.
The researchers found 5.2 per cent of those who got the nasal spray (intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine) tested positive for the flu while 5.3 per cent of those who got the injection (inactivated influenza vaccine) tested positive.
The nasal spray is called FluMist and made by AstraZeneca. FluMist is covered for children by some provincial health insurance plans, including Ontario’s.
The flu shot is covered universally in all provinces except Quebec, New Brunswick and B.C., where it is covered only for high risk groups.