Perspectives from the Society for Pediatric Research: Decreased Effectiveness of the Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine

Michelle A. Gill, Elizabeth P. Schlaudecker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The intranasal live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), FluMist, has been widely appreciated by pediatricians, parents, and children alike for its ease of administration. However, concerns regarding lack of effectiveness in recent influenza seasons led to the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation to administer inactivated influenza vaccines (IIVs), and not LAIV, during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. Given that data from previous years demonstrated equivalent and even improved efficacy of LAIV compared with IIV, these recent data were surprising, raising many questions about the potential mechanisms underlying this change. This review seeks to summarize the history of LAIV studies and ACIP recommendations with a focus on the recent decrease in vaccine effectiveness (VE) and discordant results among studies performed in different countries. Decreased VE for A/H1N1pdm09 viruses represents the most consistent finding across studies, as VE has been low every season these viruses predominated since 2010-11. Potential explanations underlying diminished effectiveness include the hypothesis that prior vaccination, reduced thermostability of A/H1N1pdm09, addition of a fourth virus, or reduced replication fitness of A/H1N1pdm09 strains may have contributed to this phenomenon. Ongoing studies and potential alterations to LAIV formulations provide hope for a return of effective LAIV in future influenza seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


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