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SLU study: shot-spray combination may protect best for children's first flu vaccine

A flu vaccine gets placed inside a needle.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr
Children can receive their flu vaccinations via injection, as shown, or through a nasal spray.

A new study out of Saint Louis University suggests that a child’s first doses of flu vaccine can be given as either two shots or two nasal sprays, but that giving one shot and one nasal spray may be most protective.

Lead researcher Dr. Dan Hoft says the nasal spray – which is a live vaccine – can cause wheezing. But it’s more effective than an inactivated vaccine, which is injected.

Hoft says this initial study suggests giving children one injection and one nasal spray may provide better protection against the flu, without the respiratory side effects.

“There was similar safety, similar antibody responses, induced by both the inactivated and live vaccines, but only the live vaccines induced significant t-cell responses,” Hoft said.

Hoft says vaccines that activate the body’s virus-fighting t-cells could help protect against a wider range of flu strains, including H1N1.

Right now, the nasal spray is not approved for use in children under two.