Is LAIV an Effective Flu Vaccine?

With the flu season just around the corner, it is time for you to make the necessary preparations. Do you want to opt for the flu vaccine nasal spray or the regular flu vaccine? It is better to get more info before getting a flu shot.

Nasal spray vs regular flu vaccine

Also called known as FluMist, or LAIV, this type of flu vaccine is sprayed into the nose. It contains weakened live viruses and used only for healthy individuals from ages 2 to 49 and for non-pregnant women.

The regular flu vaccine is usually injected into your upper arm. The injection contains the killed form of the virus that are for people from 6 months of age or older, people in good health and those with chronic medical conditions.

Both vaccines stimulate the body to produce antibodies to fight against the influenza virus to protect you against infection. For this flu season, two versions of the flu vaccine are available:

  1. Flu shot vaccine as protection against two influenza A viruses – A 3-strain shot vaccine that is H1N1 or swine flu; H3N2 and one influenza B virus;
  2. Nasal spray and shot vaccine of 4-strain as protection against two influenza A viruses (H1N1 & H3N2 and two influenza B viruses.

Effectivity of the nasal spray flu vaccine

According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for children ages 2 to 8, the nasal spray is more effective compared with the injected version. Based on study result, the spray prevented about 50% more flu cases among young children than the flu shot so the best protection for young kids is the FluMist. Another study showed that at least 86% of influenza infection was prevented from affecting children who had higher risk of severe illness by the use of nasal sprays.

However, nasal spray vaccine should not be used by: (1) kids younger than 2 years old; (2) people ages 50 and older; (3) pregnant women; (4) people suffering from a medical condition that would endanger them for complications from flu; (5) people with diabetes or kidney failure; (6) people with weakened the immune system; (7) people who take medications with weakened immune system; (8) children between 2 and 5 with asthma & children with wheezing cough for the last 12 months; (9) children and adolescents who take aspirin therapy; (10) people with egg-allergic or who are allergic to any components of the nasal spray vaccine; (11) People with a history of Guillain-Barre; and (12) Takers of antiviral influenza drugs during the past 48 hours.

Side effects of nasal spray

  1. For children, side effects can include: fever, headaches, muscle aches, runny nose, vomiting and wheezing.
  2. In adults, side effects can include: cough, fever, headaches, mild fatigue, runny nose and sore throat.

These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially compared with flu symptoms.

Both flu shot and nasal spray offer about the same level of protection, but some people are better suited for the shot, while others do better with the spray.

For the most current information, check the U.S. government’s site flu.gov frequently, or call the CDC at (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636. These lines are available 24 hours a day.

If you want to prepare for the coming flu season, so you should know where to go. There are around 400 Healthcare Clinic locations conveniently located at select Walgreens all over the country. Simply enter your ZIP code in the Store Locator. Walgreens caters to all your needs for vaccination and offers affordable prices for patients not paying with insurance. They have Flu shots for ages 2+; FluMist Intranasal Spray for those from ages 2–49; Fluzone High-Dose for the elderly from ages 65+ and Fluarix from ages 3+.

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