The arrival of a new school year and cooler temperatures also means the arrival of flu vaccines in doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics, work places, and school campuses. With flu season on its way, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated recommendations Monday for the flu vaccine — but without the needle-free option so many parents were hoping for.
Parents and pediatricians both may be dismayed to hear that the FluMist nasal vaccine is once again not recommended.
“It’s a disappointment that it wasn’t as effective as we thought it was going to be, and it’s a disappointment that we don’t get to offer a poke-free opportunity for the vaccine,” says Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, executive director of digital health at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Scientists discovered last year that FluMist it did not protect against H1N1 infections in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016, and was weak against other strains.
But that’s not a reason to skip the vaccine altogether. Parents of children with needle phobia should be honest that the shot will hurt, but only briefly, she says. A quick tip: to help manage pain, distract your kid by telling them to pretend to blow out birthday candles at the moment they get the stick, Swanson says.