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An FDA advisory panel has given preliminary approval to the makers of a nasal flu vaccine that could take the sting out of protection.
For millions of Americans a flu shot is a seasonal ritual. But Brian and Elizabeth Burnes got the protection without the vaccination. They took part in a clinical trial for a nasal spray called "flumist."
Brian says, "Shots really hurt me, but when they spreay me, they didn't hurt."
The spray could be particularly good for children. They are a prime group for spreading the flu virus but don't like getting the shots needed to help protect them and their families.
Joan Burnes is a mother. She says, "There's the tears, the 'Don't want to do, I don't want it, I don't need it, let me go.' And with the flu vaccine in the nasal spray then it's much easier."
The researchers say in children the flumist spray is as effective as the traditional flu shot.
Flu researcher Dr. Robert Belshe says, "It protected children 93% of the time from influenza, which is a very high rate of protection against the flu. It also protected children against ear infections and pneumonia associated with influenza."
However, the spray would only be available to children over five, because it increases the risk of asthma-like attacks in very young children.
The F-D-A advisory panel was also not convinced the spray was as good as the standard shot.
In fact it is only recommending approval of the spray for people between the ages of five and 49, saying there was little evidence it could offer protection for people over 50, when their immune system begins to weaken.
The nasal spray now goes to the full F-D-A for approval. However, Flumist has already been turned down once before, and the qualified approval it got recently means full approval is by no means guaranteed.