NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Flu season is right around the corner and this time around, health officials are getting behind a less favorable form of prevention for patients.
That is because the Centers for Disease Control no longer recommends nasal flu vaccinations, which were found to be less effective than the traditional flu shot.
This change means both adults and children who are frightened of needles will no longer have another option that is less invasive.
"Essentially what they found over the last two to three years is that the efficiency of the nasal vaccine has diminished considerably, and this year they're really not noticing that it has a beneficial effect," said Dr. Ron Reynolds, with Beach Family Urgent Care.
The CDC reported during the most recent flu season it did not find a protective benefit in children between the ages of 2 and 17 who were given the nasal spray.
"Generally speaking, most people don't really want to have the nasal vaccine," Reynolds said. "It's actually unusual when you have someone come in and request it."
Patients of Reynolds told him they either did not like the taste of the nasal vaccine, became nauseated or felt worse than before. Now, with this new recommendation, his office, like others, will not order any nasal sprays for the upcoming flu season.
"I had pneumonia three years in a row and the doctor said, 'You need to get the flu shot,' and I did and I haven't got pneumonia since," Beach Family Urgent Care patient Richard Greenhill said.
While some patients are pro flu shot, Reynolds understands the decision to recommend against the nasal spray will be disappointing for many, but he hopes adults will not be discouraged.
"It doesn't diminish the fact that everybody should be getting their flu vaccine over three months of age," he said.
For those who are truly shot averse and never had an issue with the nasal spray, Reynolds offers some hope.
"Potentially next year, year after, they may reverse that and find the vaccine is becoming more effective," he said. "They're not really sure exactly why it's not being effective at this point in time. Until they figure that out, we're pretty much going to have to go the shot route."
Until an effective needle-free flu vaccine arrives, local doctors and the CDC recommend getting a flu shot.