FluMist®, the Nasal Flu Vaccine
There is also a flu vaccine that is given as a nasal spray called FluMist. It is recommended for healthy persons who are aged 2-49 years of age and are not pregnant. This includes persons caring for children less than 6 months and health care personnel (except those that care for severely immunocompromised patients in special care units).
Who should NOT be vaccinated with the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
- People less than 2 years of age
- People 50 years of age and over
- People with a medical condition that places them at high risk for complications from influenza, including those with chronic heart or lung disease, such as asthma or reactive airways disease; people with medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure; or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, or who take medications that can weaken the immune system.
- Children <5 years old with a history of recurrent wheezing
- Children or adolescents receiving aspirin
- People with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disorder of the nervous system
- Pregnant women
- People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs or who are allergic to any of the nasal spray vaccine components.
Can mothers who are breastfeeding get the nasal spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
Can the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) be given to people when they are ill?
The nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) can be given to people with minor illnesses (e.g., diarrhea or mild upper respiratory tract infection with or without fever). However, if you have nasal congestion you may want to delay vaccination until the nasal congestion is reduced. Talk with your provider.
Can contacts of people with weakened immune systems get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
People who are in contact with others with severely weakened immune systems when they are being cared for in a protective environment (for example, people with hematopoietic stem cell transplants), should not get LAIV (FluMist®). People who have contact with others with lesser degrees of immunosuppression (for example, people with diabetes, people with asthma taking corticosteroids, or people infected with HIV) can get LAIV (FluMist®).
What side effects are associated with the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
In children, side effects can include runny nose, headache, wheezing, vomiting, muscle aches, and fever. In adults, side effects can include runny nose, headache, sore throat, and cough. Fever is not a common side effect in adults receiving the nasal-spray flu vaccine.
When should you get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®)?
October or November is the best time to get vaccinated. Children ages 2-8 years who have never received influenza vaccine should receive the nasal-spray flu vaccine for the first time in October or earlier because they need a second dose at least one month after the first dose.
How often should the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) be given?
One dose of LAIV should be given each year before or during the influenza season. Children ages 2-8 years who require two doses (those receiving influenza vaccine for the first time, and those vaccinated for the first time during the previous influenza season but who only received one dose in that previous season) should receive the two doses at least one month apart.
If I received inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) last year, can I get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) this year?
Yes, people who got inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) last year can get the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) this year.
Can the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) be given at the same time as other vaccines?
An inactivated vaccine may be given either at the same time or at any time before or after the nasal-spray flu vaccine. A live vaccine may be given together with the nasal-spray flu vaccine. If the two live vaccines are not given at the same visit, they should be given more than 4 weeks apart.
Can the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) be used together with influenza antiviral medications?
If a person is taking an influenza antiviral drug (including Symmetrel [amantadine] for Parkinson's disease), then the nasal-spray flu vaccine should not be given until 48 hours after the last dose of the influenza antiviral medication was given. If a person has received the nasal-spray flu vaccine, an influenza antiviral medication should not be given until 2 weeks after the nasal-spray flu vaccine was administered.
If a child under the age of 9 years is getting influenza vaccine for the first time and requires 2 doses, does the same type of vaccine have to be used for both doses?
No, the first and second doses do not have to match; live or inactivated vaccine can be used for either dose. The doses should be separated by at least four weeks.
Does the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) contain thimerosal?
No, the nasal-spray flu vaccine LAIV (FluMist®) does not contain thimerosal or any other preservative.