Pediatrics | Published January 30, 2019

Ask the pediatrician: Nasal flu vaccine

Hi Dr. C.,

My six-year-old daughter is afraid of needles, but I want her to get a flu shot. Can I ask for the nasal vaccine instead of the traditional flu shot?

First, I’m glad you recognize the importance of protecting your daughter against the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is elevated across the nation. Several years ago, the CDC determined that FluMist®, the nasal flu vaccine, reduced incidence of the flu by only three percent, compared to unvaccinated people. Those who received a traditional flu shot reduced their flu risk by 65 percent. Because of this, only flu injections were recommended.

In the February 2019 issue of Pediatrics magazine, researchers conducted a study from 2013 to 2016 and found that nasal flu vaccine continues to be less effective than its injected counterpart in all pediatric age groups. During the 2018 - 2019 flu season, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the injection flu vaccine has the primary form of vaccine to protect against the flu

If your daughter is afraid of getting a shot, you can use these tips to help alleviate her fears.