ATLANTA — The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting here this week. The committee is composed of experts who guide policy on how vaccines should be used in the United States. The group’s votes have real-world implications on the vaccines that are available to Americans. They also have implications for the companies that make the vaccines ACIP reviews.

On Wednesday, the committee voted to update its recommendations on influenza vaccines to be used in the upcoming 2017-18 season. There were winners and losers.

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  • Immunologists please chime in. One reason that Flu Mist will always underperform the flu shot is that the influenza strains used to make the shot are customized each year based on recommendations of CDC and WHO. In contrast the same strains of Influenza Types A and B are used to make Flu Mist each year despite the well known fact that viral strains mutate all the time.

    • Hi there! Did my Ph.D. in influenza vaccinology 🙂

      FluMist uses the same WHO-recommended strains as the injected vaccine. Both vaccines use modified viruses that combine parts of a very immunogenic strain (one that activates your immune system) with surface proteins from the circulating strains that year. The virus for FluMist is attenuated (weakened) by adapting it to a non-human species, while the injected vaccine is inactivated by heat or chemicals. Same strains in each vaccine though!

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