FluMist nasal spray vaccine won't be offered in Saskatchewan this season

Health regions in Saskatoon and Regina say only the injection flu vaccine will be offered in the province for the 2016-17 flu season.

Ministry of Health only offering flu vaccine by injection for 2016-2017 flu season

Nasal spray flu vaccines won't be an option in Saskatchewan this flu season. (CBC)

If you were hoping to avoid some tears by getting the FluMist nasal spray vaccine for your child this year, you're out of luck — at least in Saskatchewan. 

Health regions in Saskatoon and Regina say only the injectable flu vaccine will be offered in the province for the 2016-17 flu season. 

The decision was made by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health after it reviewed evidence and other recommendations. 

It said the FluMist vaccine's effectiveness decreases significantly over time, according to a study by the U.S. Center for Disease Control's advisory committee on immunization practices. The committee recommended no longer using the nasal spray vaccine. 

The spray had been available in the province for the past two years. 

"We've used it for a couple of years. We thought it was a good addition. But this year we're just taking a bit of a pause and looking at where it fits in our program," said Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer. 

Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, says if the spray is found to be effective in other jurisdictions, it could be offered again in the province. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

In Canada, the Public Health Agency still recommends people get the vaccine by either needle or nasal spray, but for people between two to 17 years old, the spray isn't considered the preferred form. 

But the spray may not be gone from Saskatchewan for good. 

Shahab says the province will review how the spray fares this year in provinces such as B.C., Ontario and Alberta. 

"Some provinces are offering it, so we'll look at what their experience is this year and you know, if it's as good as the injectable we may offer it next year again," Shahab said. 


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