Live-Virus Vaccine: The Future of the Flu Shot

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Shot to the Nose

When I was a kid, I looked forward to the day that they were finally going to introduce the FluMist, or the recently tested version of the flu vaccine that is little more than a pleasant nasal spray, as opposed to the typical shot that is received and loathed by many children across the globe. So, let’s take a look at what the latest research is saying about this particular version of the vaccine that everyone wants – the one that will make getting a vaccine at the end of the year a much more enjoyable experience.

First, the good news, the new flu vaccine is proving to be more effective than the traditional shot, but only in a small amount over the original vaccination. However, in adults, the FluMist is proving to be no different or in some cases less effective than the traditional shot. This poses a problem for those currently working with the trial materials – what’s the point of pouring years of research and millions into development if the new treatment is no better than the original treatment?

With the DOD pouring money into the research in order to get our servicemen to get the flu vaccine more often and as soon as the virus has been isolated for that season, the only reason to continue the trials seems to be that the ease of administering the vaccination is significantly better than the traditional shot, requiring much less time and the ability to use personnel that don’t require any training with needles.

Interestingly enough, this flu vaccine seems to be better for those that haven’t gotten their shots so often. Because the virus isn’t the attenuated version that is so carefully injected into our muscles every year, this live version isn’t able to contend so well with an individual with good immunization practices. However, amongst those recruits that haven’t been so over-immunized, this new FluMist vaccine is a much better solution.

As a result, it seems that the DOD may have been shelling out money for the next great advance in vaccinating children. As the FluMist is more effective and much easier to use, parents and doctors seem anxious to be able to forego the usual yearly ritual of having to subdue the child in order to give him/her a shot in the arm.

This vaccine seems like a small miracle for those that have a phobia of needles, but at the same time, even though the test was conducted on 1 million military personnel, it’s still too early to tell what sorts of results this new flu vaccine will have on the general population over a longer period of time – until then, we’ll have to play the waiting game.


Live Virus Vaccine Less Effective than Traditional Shots in Adults. March 30, 2009.