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By Alexandra Sifferlin
June 23, 2016

The nasal flu spray vaccine that some people prefer over the flu shot doesn’t protect against the seasonal flu and will not be recommended for the upcoming 2016-2017 flu season, finds the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An advisory committee to the CDC announced that it has voted against using the nasal spray flu vaccine. Based on data from the 2015-2016 season, researchers discovered that the spray only offered 3% protection against the flu for young people ages two to 17. “This 3 percent estimate means no protective benefit could be measured,” the CDC wrote in a statement. By comparison, the standard flu shot was 63% effective against the flu for people in the same age group.

Every year the effectiveness of the flu vaccine can vary due to the fact that the scientists developing the vaccine must select which flu strains to include ahead of time. But such little protection offered by the nasal flu spray was deemed unacceptable. The nasal spray accounts for about one third of flu vaccines given to children, and 8% of the total number of flu vaccines provided each year.

The CDC said that the new vote could affect providers who have already placed orders for the seasonal flu vaccines. The agency says it will work with flu vaccine manufacturers to make sure there are enough vaccines.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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