Nasal vaccine against flu gets green light in Canada

Officials with Health Canada have recently approved the first nasal vaccine to protect users against seasonal influenza.

The vaccine, called FluMist, is marketed in Canada by AstraZeneca Canada Inc., reports. The vaccine uses a live but significantly weakened form of influenza to boost the immune system, according to the report.

Marc Zarenda, scientific director for oncology and infection for AstraZeneca Canada, told the company has notified Canadian provinces of the vaccine’s approval.

“We’ll have to see what the uptake is like,” Zarenda told

Arlene King, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, told that the nasal vaccine has advantages but that a decision probably will not be made too quickly.

“I think increasing the suite of influenza vaccines that we have in Canada is an important development,” King told “We will consider this product at the appropriate point in time.”

Many health care professionals say the vaccine has advantages, especially for children who are afraid of injections. Zarenda did note, however, that the vaccine is not approved for use in children younger than two or adults over age 59.

Disclaimer’s on the product’s website warn that the vaccine is linked to a higher incidence of wheezing and hospitalization among children younger than two and tests showed it only had limited effectiveness on patients over 59.

When initially released in the U.S. in 2003, FluMist was originally not recommended for any children younger than five. A U.S. advisory committee moved the approved age down to two in 2007.