Talking About Vaccines with Dr. Paul Offit: News Briefs – July 2018 – CDC & AAP Recommendations for FluMist® (2018-2019)

Paul A. Offit, MD, discusses variations between guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding use of the intranasal influenza vaccine.

Visit the Vaccine Education Center to learn more about the influenza vaccine.


News Briefs — CDC & AAP Recommendations for FluMist® (2018-2019)

Paul A. Offit, MD: Hi, my name is Paul Offit. I’m talking to you today from the Vaccine Education Center, here at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. And I want to talk about influenza vaccines, specifically for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. Now, this coming season there are two influenza vaccines that are available. One is the inactivated influenza viral vaccine, which is given as a shot. The other is a live, weakened form of the virus that’s given as a nasal spray.

Now, that second vaccine, so called FluMist, has been off the market for several years because for three years in a row, between 2013 and 2016, it performed poorly. However, the company has now done a number of studies showing that the vaccine now appears to be back on-track and induces an excellent immune response.

What I think may be confusing for parents and for providers and for older people who get this vaccine – because the FluMist vaccine is now recommended for anyone between 2 and 49 years of age – is there’s a difference between two recommending bodies. So the way that vaccines work usually is the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, licenses that vaccine. And then the next step – and this is the one I’m talking about – is the recommendation step. So who recommends these vaccines? There’s two groups. One is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the second is the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP.

Now, those two groups differ in how they view FluMist this year. Whereas the CDC says that either the inactivated vaccine or the FluMist vaccine could be used for the appropriate age groups, the American Academy of Pediatrics has expressed a preference for the inactivated vaccine.

Now I think that if you look at the evidence, I think that the CDC has made the correct choice here because the people who make FluMist, the manufacturers of FluMist, have shown that they have corrected the problem and that the vaccine induces an excellent immune response. So I do think that if parents or providers have questions about this, I think that the CDC’s decision that either of these vaccines could be used is the right one. Thank you.

Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center