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CDC: Flu Mist not recommended for 2016-17 flu season
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MONROE - The Centers for Disease Control and Protection announced in July that the live attenuated influenza vaccine, best known as nasal spray, or by the trade name Flu Mist, should not be used during the 2016-17 influenza season. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend it not be used after data showed poor or relatively low effectiveness of the nasal spray from 2013 through 2016.

State Health Officer Karen McKeown stated that flu shots performed well last season and it is expected that there will be enough of the injectable vaccine available for the 2016-17 season so everyone six months and older can be protected against the flu.

How well the flu vaccine works can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses. The CDC conducts vaccine effectiveness studies each season to gauge the success of a vaccine in preventing the flu virus. Data on the effectiveness of the nasal spray among children ages 2-17 during the 2015-16 season found that no effective benefit from the LAIV could be measured. By comparison, data found the injectable vaccine to be very effective in preventing flu among children in this age group. This change in recommendation underscores the importance of ongoing efforts to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of vaccines to ensure the public is optimally protected from health threats.

Accordingly to RoAnn Warden, RN and Green County Health Officer, there were 434 influenza related hospitalizations in the southern region of the state during the 2015-16 flu season. She said it is important to get vaccinated every year to prevent getting influenza. She said, in Green County, only 31 percent of children under 19 years of age, 29 percent of adults age 19-64, and 57 percent of adults 65 or older were vaccinated for influenza during the 2015-16 season.

The Green County Health Department will be holding community flu shot clinics in the fall. Check out or call 608-328-9390 for dates and times of scheduled flu clinics.