FluMist may prevent future flu cases

Randal Sanchez
February 24, 2018

"We participate in the state surveillance for the flu, and so we do keep track of what we call an influenza-like illness that has to meet certain criteria-you know, fever, body aches, sore throat, chills-and... usually we report maybe 1 or 2 cases to the state, and it starts in October and it goes till May... and so, for example, last week..." San Diego County informs the public about all flu deaths, according to county officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine every year, but fewer than half of all Americans do.

ACIP members voted against recommending injected vaccines over FluMist.

Henry Bernstein, DO, professor of pediatrics at Zucker School of Medicine at Hoftstra/Northwell and Cohen Children's Medical Center, said he had a number of concerns.

Studies have suggested that while FluMist fell down against swine flu, it has been effective against other types of flu. But the part that anxious him most was the chance that the vaccine wouldn't perform well in an H1N1-dominated season and that such a failure might undercut flu vaccination coverage, in general.

During the committee discussion in the lead-up to the votes, some members said they anxious if the new data on shedding were strong enough evidence of protection, compared with traditional vaccine effectiveness studies. It's been off the US market since then, although it is still used in other countries, including Canada and the European Union.

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AstraZeneca, which makes FluMist at its MedImmune subsidiary outside Washington, D.C., said it reformulated the H1N1 component of the vaccine and presented evidence that it now works better.

The predominant influenza strain circulating in San Diego and across the country this season is H3N2. "Most deaths from pertussis are in very, very young babies who aren't eligible to get the vaccine", Sukumaran said. According to officials from Frederick Memorial hospital in Frederick, Maryland, an adult, later confirmed to be a 41-year-old woman, passed away due to influenza at the end of January.

"We didn't expect to find any increased risk in these infants", Sukumaran said. Unlike shots made from a killed virus, it is made from a live but weakened flu virus.

- AstraZeneca Plc said on Wednesday an advisory committee of the U.S.

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