The Pros and Cons of the Flu Spray Vaccine

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nasal spray vaccine offered by pharmacies like Rite Aid is made with live but weakened virus that will provide an effective level of immunity against the infection. Emphasis must be made that, as with the traditional flu shot, it is actually made of 3 flu viruses that have been identified as the most prevalent for the upcoming flu season. Both are considered as effective preventive measures for both children and adults – with the exception of FluMist, a product of AstraZeneca, which a CDC panel has declared to be ineffective among kids in the 2015-2016 flu season and, thus, has been suspended for use in the 2016-2017 season.  

Why Choose Flu Sprays

While the traditional flu shot is also effective, you may want to consider flu spray vaccines for the following reasons:  

  • You want to avoid the needle that comes with the traditional flu shot, especially when you are squeamish about it.
  • Your children should be vaccinated, especially those under 5 years old since they are both at risk of being infected and of passing the infection to others. You will likely choose a nasal spray vaccine for them so as to make the process faster and easier, as well as avoid traumatic associations with the beneficial substance. Plus, a 2007 study also showed that it may be more effective than the traditional flu injection in children.  

The CDC also recommends the nasal spray vaccine for people within the 2 to 49 age bracket but they must be in good health.

Why Nasal Sprays Cannot be Administered

Despite the ease of administration and the potency of nasal spray vaccines, there are instances when these cannot be used, according to CDC guidelines. These include:  

  • Children under the age of 2 – or between 6 and 24 months – should receive the traditional flu shot. Infants under 6 months old should not be administered any kind of flu shot although there are safety measures to reduce their risks of infection, such as the children and adults around them being vaccinated.
  • Children with asthma
  • Children less than 5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing
  • Adults 49 years old and above
  • Pregnant women
  • Children and adults with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, muscle or nerve disorders, compromised immune systems, and asthma
  • People with stuffy nose resulting in difficulty in breathing

The nasal spray vaccine also has its share of possible side effects including a runny nose, sore throat, headache, vomiting, muscle ache, and fever. But these will usually resolve on their own within a few days, not to mention that the benefits of the flu vaccine far outweighs these possible side effects.