Doctors react to recommendation to avoid nasal flu vaccine

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - For around 10 years, those anxious to avoid a shot have turned to a nasal spray as their flu vaccine of choice.

However, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee now says the FluMist spray should not be used in the upcoming flu season.

Dr. Joseph Bresee is chief of the CDC's Epidemiology and Prevention Branch.

In regard to the spray, he told CBS News, "two of the last three seasons it hasn't worked at all, at least in our hands. We haven't seen any of our data that indicates the vaccine has been effective."

In contrast, the flu shot is around 60% effective. "Which is not perfect but still pretty good," says Dr. Scott Harris.

Dr. Harris is the state health officer for Madison County and six surrounding counties.

He says, "we give the injectable vaccine here, primarily, although there are nurses in the flu clinics in schools that still have been using the live (nasal spray) vaccine but I suspect there'll be a change this fall."

The recommendation is of particular importance for young patients, since one-third of children typically receive the nasal vaccine.

In light of that, two of the area's largest pediatric practices are responding to the advisory committee's recommendation.

Huntsville Pediatric Associates posted the following statement on its Facebook page:

"HPA has made an executive decision to use only inactivated influenza vaccine for the 2016-17 season. We will not use nasal spray vaccine (FluMist). We are in the process of expanding our request for more doses of the "flu shot" and will do our best to make sure everyone wanting influenza vaccine will get it. It will be very important to get the flu vaccine early this season; we will keep you informed of the vaccine availability.

Cornerstone Pediatrics in Madison posted this statement:

"The doctors and staff at Cornerstone will continue to provide our patients with the latest information and most current standard of treatment. Therefore, we will only be offering the injectable inactivated influenza vaccine this season. We continue to emphasize the need for yearly flu vaccination to protect from what can be a dangerous and sometimes deadly virus. The injectable vaccine provides the protection needed against the flu virus. We will continue to update our patients as we receive more information on the availability of the vaccine this season in order to continue to provide the best care for your child."

The CDC has pledged to work with manufacturers to ensure this season's supply of the injectable vaccine meets the increased demand.

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