Yearly flu shots are especially important for kids with asthma as any virus can trigger an asthma attack. But in the not-too-distant future, kids with asthma, the condition which disproportionately affects Black children, might be able to get a spritz instead of a jab, new research hints.
Inactivated flu shot vs. live nasal spray
Current recommendations suggest children with asthma get an inactivated flu shot (the flu virus is dead) instead of the live nasal spray vaccine to avoid wheezing and a potential full-blown asthma attack.
However, the latest study shows these kids do just as well with the live nasal mist as the inactivated flu shot, and most kids would gladly choose a nasal mist over a needle.
“The most important thing we learned is that in this study of children with asthma, including severe asthma, the intranasal vaccine (FluMist) did not lead to wheezing events or asthma exacerbations,” study author Dr. C. Buddy Creech says. He is director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program and chair of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
“While we have exercised caution historically, due to increased wheezing events in young children during the clinical trials of FluMist, we can now have a great deal more confidence that it does not do the same thing in children with asthma,” he shares.
For the study, 151 children with asthma, aged 5 to 17, received a flu shot or nasal mist vaccine for two flu seasons. Rates of wheezing and asthma attacks were the same for both groups 42 days after they got their vaccines, the study findings showed.
Benefits of the live nasal mist vaccine
There are many potential benefits to getting the live nasal mist vaccine, Creech says.
For starters, most kids would gladly opt for a nasal spray over a shot. “Previous data show that [the live flu vaccine] can trigger a broader