‘Ineffective’ FluMist Vaccine Blamed by Utah Parents For Daughter’s Death Due to Influenza

The parents of an 8-year-old girl who died from influenza are claiming that the nasal spray vaccine FluMist failed to protect their daughter from the virus. This came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against nasal spray vaccines and advised health officials to administer flu shots in its place instead.

Nasal Spray Vaccine Believed To Be Ineffective

Mark and Michelle Coyne of Park City, Utah said they vaccinated their daughter Mackenzie with AstraZeneca's FluMist in November 2015, Fox 13 reported. In February, the child died hours after she was diagnosed with influenza A, which has progressed quickly in her system.

Mackenzie died shortly after being rushed to the hospital even though doctors were already reviving her, Good4Utah noted. The Coyne family is saying that Mackenzie wouldn't have died if she got flu shots, or injectable vaccine, instead of FluMist.

Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that affects the nose, throat, bronchi and, sometimes, the lungs. Its symptoms include sudden onset of fever, headache, aching muscles, sore throat, rhinitis, cough, and malaise or discomfort. Majority of people infected recover within one to two weeks without medical attention but young and elderly people are at risk of more serious complications like pneumonia and death, according to the World Health Organization.

In June, the CDC declared flu shots as a more effective immunization method against viruses than the nasal spray vaccine. Studies have found that FluMist performed poorly against the most common flu strains during the past three flu seasons, according to Chicago Tribune.

CDC's report based on data from 2015-16 indicated that the nasal spray vaccine only provided 3 percent of immunity against the flu for people aged two to 17. Flu shots, in contrast, have a 63 percent effectiveness rate among the same age group.


The Coyne family wants to know why the CDC didn't disclose FluMist's ineffectiveness to the public despite the information they accumulated in past years. Mark said vaccinations are important, but he hopes that "there's a higher level of accountability with the system that administers vaccines," Fox 13 further reported.

Local governments are stumped now that the CDC advised doctors against FluMist for this year's flu season. The Utah Department of Health, for instance, already purchased 1,200 doses of the nasal spray vaccine. They are now relying on CDC guidelines about how they will handle that order.

Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at the CDC, said FluMist's ineffectiveness was probably because of the four strains added into the vaccine instead of the usual three. The extra strain possibly dropped the body's response to another strain, Chicago Tribune noted.

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