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ACIP announces shutdown of FluMist vaccine for 2016-17 flu season

Pictured above is a patient being administered the flu vaccine known as FluMist. Wayland's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), subject experts on vaccines, made a nationwide recommendation this year to remove the availability of FluMist as a flu prevention method. “When [ACIP] looked back over the last three years of FluMist over the end of seasons, they noticed that there was not good efficacy of the vaccine as compared to the injection,” Wayland Public Health Nurse Ruth Mori said.

Credit: Courtesy of the United States Marine Corps

Pictured above is a patient being administered the flu vaccine known as FluMist. Wayland's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), subject experts on vaccines, made a nationwide recommendation this year to remove the availability of FluMist as a flu prevention method. “When [ACIP] looked back over the last three years of FluMist over the end of seasons, they noticed that there was not good efficacy of the vaccine as compared to the injection,” Wayland Public Health Nurse Ruth Mori said.

Kevin Wang and Joyce Wu

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP] announced its decision to discontinue the flu prevention method, also known as FluMist. The vaccine had served as an alternative for traditional flu injections since 2009 when the H1N1 or swine flu epidemic broke out.

According to Ruth Mori, a Wayland Public Health Nurse and the Wayland School Nurse Leader, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held a meeting to discuss vaccines.

“When they looked back over the last three years of FluMist over the end of seasons, they noticed that there was not good efficacy of the vaccine as compared to the injection,” Mori said. “Therefore, they made a recommendation that FluMist not be used for this year.”

The primary strain that was shown not to be affected by the FluMist was the H1N1 strain. The H1N1 strain was shown to be the least affected strain of the virus making the FluMist not effective.

“They’re trying to determine why [the lower efficacy in FluMist] is happening and why that’s not happening in the injection,” Mori said. “I’m sure that that information will be continued to be looked at.”

According to Mori, the manufacturers have not halted the production of FluMist supplies. However, the state has made the decision to stop offering it per request of the ACIP.

“What’s important to know is that pediatricians have also come out after this recommendation was made, but they supported the recommendation and said they would not be offering the vaccine,” Mori said. “We in Wayland are going to do what is best according to the subject matter experts, and that is why [FluMist] is not available.”

Although it might not be available for this year, the removal of FluMist may just be temporary. If the manufacturers make effective changes to it, they might bring it back.

“I think that there is always a chance by looking at the information they have,” Mori said. “The manufacturers, of course, are looking at the information and are trying to determine why they had a drop-off of efficacy. It really was regarding a certain strain called the H1N1 strain that was showing decreased effectiveness over the last few years.”

Students and families have mixed opinions about the decision. Some believe that the state made the right choice by getting rid of the vaccine.

“If the shots work better [than the mist], then I definitely think that shots would be better than the FluMist,” freshman Sarah Davis said. “It was the right choice.”

Others expressed discomfort in the FluMist being unavailable this year and the fact that shots are now the only vaccination method.

“[Shots are] mildly uncomfortable for a few hours after, so I’d just rather avoid that,” senior Coby Sommerfield said.

Although Sommerfield preferred FluMist over the injection, he believes that the discontinuation of the mist is “not a big deal.”

Mori indicated that she is aware of the mixed opinions about the FluMist unavailability. She hopes that the removal of the vaccine’s availability does not induce a drop in the amount of youth being vaccinated.

“Obviously, as a public health nurse, I would want to see everybody still be vaccinated,” Mori said. “I guess we’ll have to wait and see by looking at the overall United States data and Massachusetts data of the number of kids that were vaccinated this year versus in past years.”

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About the Writers
Kevin Wang, News Editor and Copy Editor

Kevin Wang, Class of 2020, is the news section editor and a copy editor for WSPN. This is his third year on the staff. He is secretary of the Class of...

Joyce Wu, Copy Editor

Joyce Wu, class of 2020, is a copy editor this year. This is her third year in WSPN. She does crew and is also a part of Window Dance Ensemble. Outside...

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ACIP announces shutdown of FluMist vaccine for 2016-17 flu season