ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) agrees with the interim recommendation today from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recommend that live attenuated influenza vaccine should not be used in the upcoming 2016-2017 season.
The AAP recommends children ages 6 months and older be immunized against influenza every year. Previously, the CDC and AAP had recommended either form of flu vaccine – the inactivated influenza vaccine that is given by injection and is approved for all patients older than 6 months, or the live attenuated influenza vaccine that is given by intranasal spray, which is approved for healthy patients ages 2 through 49 years.
“We agree with ACIP’s decision today to recommend health care providers and parents use only the inactivated vaccine,” said Benard Dreyer, MD, FAAP, President of the AAP. New data presented to the ACIP showed that currently only the inactivated influenza vaccine provides protection against flu. The ACIP assessed new data from the past three influenza seasons and cited evidence of poor effectiveness of the live attenuated influenza vaccine during this time period.
“We do understand this change will be difficult for pediatric practices who were planning to give the intranasal spray to their patients, and to patients who prefer that route of administration,” said Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, CEO/Executive Director of the AAP. “However the science is compelling that the inactivated vaccine is the best way to protect children from what can be an unpredictable and dangerous virus. The AAP will be working with CDC and vaccine manufacturers to make sure pediatricians and families have access to appropriate vaccines, and to help pediatricians who have already ordered intranasal vaccines.”
“The AAP continues to strongly recommend parents immunize all children older than 6 months against influenza every year,” Dr. Dreyer said. “Flu vaccine is the best way we have to protect children, and being immunized every year significantly reduces the risk of a child being hospitalized due to flu.”