The FDA has approved a new type of FluMist for use in the United States. Produced by MedImmune, FluMist Quadrivalent is the first flu vaccine that will contain four strains of the influenza virus, rather than three.
All other flu vaccines (both the nasal spray and the shot) contain three strains of influenza vaccine which are thought to be most likely to cause illness during the following flu season. Two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B are included each year. In the FluMist Quadrivalent vaccine, four strains - two of influenza A and two of influenza B - will be included in the vaccine.
The new vaccine is approved for use in adults and children ages 2 to 49. Studies on the new vaccine's safety and efficacy have shown similar response as seen with the traditional FluMist vaccine.
Common side effects include sore throat and headache in adults and runny nose or congestion in both children and adults.
Public health officials hope the inclusion of the extra strain of influenza will provide greater protection, especially to children, who are more likely to be affected by influenza B.