Experts advise flu shot for pregnant women, despite miscarriage concern


Experts said that the actual exposure to swine flu, and not the vaccine, could have caused the miscarriages. Health officials say there is no reason to change the government recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated against the flu.

Republican Representative Christina Hagan says she hears from Ohioans who have been in their fields for decades, especially those in medical careers, who continue to lose their jobs or be penalized because they refuse to get a flu vaccine.

The research, conducted by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scientists and others from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin and Kaiser Permanente, analyzed the immunizations of 485 pregnant women who had regular baby deliveries as well as 485 women who had miscarriages during flu seasons in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012. Vaccination during pregnancy is also the most effective strategy to protect newborns, experts say, because the flu vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than six months. Only four of the comparable 485 healthy pregnancies had involved women that were vaccinated in that manner. "Not at all", said Poland, who also is director of vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic.

"We only saw the link between vaccination and miscarriage if they had been vaccinated in the season before", said James Donahue, an epidemiologist and lead author. Further, "the study had several limitations, including the small number of women who had miscarriages and who received vaccinations two years in a row".

Parents giving permission for flu shots should complete the front and back of the consent form, providing both medical/demographic information and insurance information if that applies, and return to your child's school as soon as possible. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses.

Flu vaccinations of pregnant women increased substantially during and after the pandemic.

"Scientifically, it is unclear why this would occur", said Haywood Brown, president of ACOG, noting that there was no such association with miscarriage more than 28 days after vaccination. The CDC is already involved in a study concerning three recent flu seasons, but will not have results until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest. The results aren't expected until next year at the earliest, he said.