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Panel: Flu spray better than shots for young kids

ATLANTA — When it comes to flu vaccines, a federal panel said, a squirt in the nose is better than a shot in the arm for young children.

The advisory panel voted Wednesday to advise doctors that FluMist nasal spray is a bit better at preventing flu in healthy young children. The recommendation is specific to ages 2 through 8 only.

Some studies have found that children within that age group are about half as likely to get the flu if they had the spray vaccine instead of a shot.

Federal health officials usually adopt the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. A flu vaccine is now recommended for virtually everyone over 6 months old.

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AstraZeneca’s FluMist is the only spray vaccine on the market. It was first licensed in 2003 and is approved for healthy people ages 2 to 49. Unlike flu shots made from a killed virus, it is made from a live but weakened flu virus.

Associated Press