You could snort your next flu vaccine (again)

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Doctors can offer patients a new version of the nasal spray flu vaccine FluMist next winter, a USA government advisory panel says. After the first dose of FluMist Quadrivalent, 23% of children vaccinated with the 2017-2018 H1N1 LAIV strain developed a fourfold antibody rise, compared to 5% with the 2015-2016 H1N1 LAIV strain.

State health officials said they are not releasing any additional information about the identity of the child at this time.

Overall, there have been 4,699 flu-related hospitalizations during the current season, which is an increase of more than 1,000 from last year's total, and the most during the last five years.

Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told STAT that many physician offices have already ordered vaccine stocks for next flu season. The number almost eclipses the total seen at the end of the 2015-2016 season.

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(ACIP) declined to recommend FluMist in 2016 and again for this season, citing studies that showed it only reduced the risk of getting influenza by 3 percent over the past three flu seasons.

FluMist is a little different from other vaccines because not only is it spritzed up the nose, but it uses "live" flu virus.

After two years of very minimal use in the U.S., AstraZeneca's FluMist is one step closer to making its return next flu season thanks to a Wednesday recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. It's the only nasal spray flu vaccine on the market and is approved for people aged 2 to 49.

MedImmune, the branch of the London-based AstraZeneca that manufactures FluMist, says that since 2015, it has updated the vaccine to improve efficacy against H1N1. But committee panel members noted there's still not good proof that FluMist works well against the swine flu bug.

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