The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted on June 23 that the live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV; FluMist) nasal spray product should not be used for the upcoming flu season.
Results of last year's LAIV vaccinations released by the U.S. Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network showed that the estimated effectiveness was only 3 percent in children ages 2 to 17.
In addition, LAIV was less effective than the standard inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 flu seasons. Of particular concern was its lack of effectiveness against the H1N1 virus, which could severely affect children ages 2 to 8. Children in this age range are at a higher risk of complications and death if infected with the H1N1 virus.
"Though some influenza coverage is preferable to no coverage at all, LAIV was not actually providing the coverage benefit, and so providing it was simply not appropriate," American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) liaison to the ACIP Dr. Margot Savoy said.
Vaccine manufacturers are expected to provide up to 176 million doses of the flu vaccine, of which 14 million were LAIV doses. The warning against using LAIV may affect doctors who preordered doses for the upcoming flu season. Vaccine manufacturers may allow doctors to change their preorders to IIV products; no decisions have been released regarding the LAIV and IIV products.
"You should not use the LAIV you preordered for anyone (adults or children), which is potentially an issue for a bunch of doctors," Savoy said. "This vote leaves no room for using LAIV in any population, making that vaccine supply unusable."