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Facts About...


What is FluMist® Quadrivalent?

FluMist® Quadrivalent is an influenza vaccine that protects against seasonal flu, a serious respiratory illness caused by a virus. For more information, see Facts About... Influenza. FluMist® Quadrivalent is different from other seasonal influenza vaccines (“flu shots”) because it is made from weakened live influenza virus.

FluMist® Quadrivalent protects against four strains of the influenza virus. FluMist® Quadrivalent is given by a nasal spray that creates an immune response which mimics a natural influenza infection, without causing actual symptoms. The vaccine causes the body to create antibodies (cells that fight infection) in the nose and throughout the body that can quickly fight the flu virus when an individual is exposed to it. For more information, see Facts About... Seasonal Influenza Vaccines.

How is it given?

FluMist® Quadrivalent is a nasal spray, not an injection like other flu vaccines. FluMist® Quadrivalent is sprayed into each nostril with a small, needleless syringe.

How effective is the vaccine?

  • It can take 2 weeks after getting the vaccine for your body to build protection against the flu.
  • You are more likely to be protected from the flu this season if you get a flu vaccine.
  • A small number of people who get the vaccine may still get the flu, but they may be less sick and have fewer complications than if they did not get the vaccine.

What is the schedule for the vaccine?

Children 2 years to less than 9 years of age, who have never received the flu vaccine, require 2 doses given 4 weeks apart. It is recommended to receive 1 dose each year thereafter. Anyone 9 years of age and older requires 1 dose of flu vaccine each year.

Who can receive the vaccine?

Children aged 2 through 17 years old, who do not have any contraindications to FluMist ®, are able to get the FluMist® Quadrivalent vaccine for free. People aged 18 to 59 years old who wish to receive the vaccine, can purchase the vaccine by prescription from their health care provider.

Who should not receive the vaccine?

  • Children less than 2 or older than 59 years of age.
  • Anyone allergic to ingredients in the vaccine. Any component in a vaccine may be a potential allergen. The most common allergens for FluMist® Quadrivalent are:
    • Gentamicin
    • Gelatin
    • Arginine
  • For more information on contents of vaccine refer to the Canadian Immunization Guide Evergreen edition
  • Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous influenza vaccine.
  • Individuals who have developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks of an influenza vaccination
  • People with serious acute illness should wait until they feel better before getting the vaccine.
  • Anyone with significant nasal congestion should receive their flu vaccine through injection or wait until their symptoms subside before receiving FluMist® Quadrivalent.
  • Individuals with severe asthma.
  • Anyone who sought medical attention for wheezing in the seven days prior to vaccination.
  • Children and adolescents (2 through 17 years of age) currently receiving aspirin or aspirin-containing therapy.
  • Pregnant women (however, it is safe for breastfeeding mothers).
  • Persons with a weakened immune system, due to underlying disease and/or therapy.
  • FluMist® Quadrivalent should not be given until 48 hours after antiviral medication against influenza is stopped, and antiviral medication should not be given until two weeks after FluMist® Quadrivalent is given.

Note: Avoid close contact with people who have severely weakened immune systems for at least 2 weeks after receiving FluMist® Quadrivalent.

Are there any side effects with the vaccine?

  • Influenza vaccine is safe and well-tolerated in most individuals. The most common side effect experienced by FluMist® Quadrivalent recipients is a stuffy or runny nose
  • Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are very rare and may not be related to the vaccine. The risk of the vaccine causing serious harm is extremely small but may include Guillain-Barré Syndrome or Oculorespiratory Syndrome. The risk of serious illness and death related to getting the flu is much higher.
  • However, if you think a serious reaction is developing, seek medical attention right away. Any unusual or significant changes in your health or your child’s health after the immunization should be reported to a health care provider and the Health Department.

October 3, 2017