Atlanta Children as young as 2 can be given a nasal spray flu vaccine, a federal advisory panel said Wednesday.
Government advice now recommends only traditional shots for children younger than 5. But recent studies have shown the vaccine FluMist, made by Maryland-based MedImmune Inc., to be safe and effective in children as young as 2.
FluMist was initially approved in 2003 for use in healthy people ages 5 to 49. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month approved its use for the 2 to 5 age group as well.
Now, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises government health officials, is recommending FluMist's use for children in the 2 to 5 age bracket. Committee members said Wednesday that children with a history of asthma or wheezing should opt for a shot.
Recommendations by the panel usually are accepted by U.S. health officials, and they influence insurance companies' decisions on vaccination coverage.