The AstraZeneca product was once considered the best childhood flu vaccine on the market and accounted for about a third of all child vaccinations. However, it reversed the decision in 2015 because of disappointing performance against the 2009 H1N1 strain, a puzzling development given that scientists in other countries where FluMist is used didn't seem to find the same gap in protection.
"We wanted to provide reassurance that these vaccines, which are recommended for every woman during pregnancy, aren't creating a risk for the baby", she added.
To assess the safety of the flu and Tdap vaccines, Sukumaran and her colleagues gathered information from the Vaccine Safety Datalink, a collaboration between the CDC and eight health care systems across the nation.
The vaccine's maker, AstraZeneca, said a small study shows a new version appears to work better.
FluMist, made by an AstraZeneca subsidiary, was first approved in 2003. "We are pleased that the ACIP has voted in support of a renewed recommendation FluMist Quadrivalent in the United States and look forward to continuing to work with public health authorities to optimize protection against influenza".
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"I have real mixed emotions about this because I think we want to protect as many people as we can, particularly, as a pediatrician, for children", said Dr. Henry Bernstein, a professor of pediatrics at Cohen Children's Medical Center in NY. "We want to protect as many people as we can, especially kids".
"With pediatric age groups when you get influenza their immune system will be weakened by the influenza virus and that will make them vulnerable to bacterial infections", said Dr. Shokr. "Advil or Tylenol, to reduce the fever, and you need to make sure you're drinking lots of fluids...again, good hand-washing and just, you know, staying away from other people to prevent the spread of it".
Bringing FluMist back into the mix is also likely to create some practical problems for clinicians, given that the ordering process for next year's vaccine has already begun.
It's been a severe flu season, but some areas across the country are reporting dwindling numbers including some NY counties.
Dr. Edward Belongia, one of the panel members from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation base in Wisconsin said in a statement that, "This is not an easy decision". Though flu strains vary from flu season to flu season, according to Time.com, this year's dominant flu strain is H3N2, and it is known for being less responsive to the flu vaccine than other strains of influenza.