Flu vaccination: Intranasal spray is more effective than shots

March 1, 2007

For kids who don't like to get shots, here's another good reason to opt for the intranasal flu vaccine.

In 2004, over 7,800 children ages six to 59 months were randomly assigned to receive either cold-adapted trivalent live-attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist administered intranasally) or trivalent inactivated vaccine.

Researchers participating in the double-blind, Cold-Adapted Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine, Trivalent (CAIV-T) Comparative Efficacy Study (N Engl J Med 2007;356:685) found that there were 54.9% fewer cases of "culture-confirmed" influenza in the group that received live-attenuated vaccine than in the group that received the inactivated vaccine. The live-attenuated vaccine was also found to be more effective than the inactive vaccine against a variety of well-matched and drifted influenza viruses. It was also reported that incidence of serious adverse events did not differ significantly between the two groups.

Scientists concluded that the live-attenuated vaccine should be an effective and safe vaccine for children 12 to 59 months of age who do not have a history of asthma or wheezing. The study was supported by MedImmune, which manufactures the FluMist intranasal vaccine.