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Flu Spray Called Safe for Children 2 Years and Above
Now, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises government health officials, is suggesting FluMist's use for kids in the 2 to 5 age group. Committee members said that children with a history of asthma or wheezing should go for a shot.
U.S. health officials usually accept recommendations by the panel, and they influence insurance companies' decisions on vaccination coverage.
The committee did not advise Flu Mist over flu shots, simply making it an alternative for young children who may dread a shot with a needle. Flu shots still recommended for children ages 6 months to 5 years and those 50 and above as well as other groups at risk for flu complications.
The committee also voted that a government program that pays for vaccines extend its Flu Mist coverage to the younger age group, meaning above 5 million children will now be qualified for free Flu Mist.
That takes in children suitable for Medicaid, members of Native American and Alaska Native groups, and some children who do not have insurance that covers the vaccination.
A dose of Flu Mist costs about $18, about the cost of a flu shot.
One dose is recommended once a year, but if it is the first time, a young child was ever vaccinated against flu; two doses must be given, spaced as a minimum a month apart.