Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flu Shots in Pregnancy Protect Newborn. Really?

Here's the article. Read the complete text here.

A pregnant woman who gets a flu shot passes protection on to her fetus that lessens the newborn’s likelihood of contracting the flu during the first months of life, researchers report in the Oct. 9 New England Journal of Medicine.

Although the vaccine has been shown to be safe, no randomized trial has evaluated the shot’s effectiveness in a clinical setting — until now.

“I think this will now make a difference,” says study coauthor Mark Steinhoff, a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “If you want to protect the baby and be careful, maybe the vaccine is a way to do that. I think more women will ask for it,” he says.

Vaccinating pregnant women against influenza is approved and even recommended by U.S. medical authorities and by the World Health Organization, but few mothers-to-be get a shot.

Things that make you go hmmmm... Well, flu shots still contain mercury and let's see... Mercury containing fish? Don't eat. Silver amalgam dental fillings? Don't get them during pregnancy, says the FDA. Why? They contain mercury. So why, why, why should pregnant women get the flu shot when it contains mercury. Maybe in the risk-benfit analysis, it is worth the possibility of mercury toxicity, but then why not just address this in the study.

Wow, I really am turning into Deirdre Imus!


Dr. Nicole Sundene said...

Regardless of the recommendations, personally I would never get a flu shot while pregnant. I would never tell another pregnant woman what to do because it is a choice for the individual to make. It is my job to educate people on the recommendations, risks, and side effects.

The issue I have with the flu shot is that it is a NEW vaccine every year due to the need to keep up with antigenic trends. Scientists make educated guesses six months in advance as to what is going to be "the flu" in the Northern hemisphere each year. When they guess correctly the vaccine is only 60-80% effective.

So--that just kind of scares me when I weigh the risks and the benefits in my mind.

The CDC makes recommendations based off of what is good for the collective...not what is good for the one. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I am glad I found this. Women's health is my favorite! I've subscribed and will be back :D

Have you seen Tori Hudson's health blog? She is at the end of my blogroll. She is the leading naturopathic expert on women's health.

The Healthy Mom said...

That article sounds very interesting. Funny thing I just got the flu shot today. But I agree with Dr. Nicole I would not get a flu shot if I was pregnant even if my baby was to be born during flu season. There are other ways you can prevent the flu if you are pregnant or have a very small baby. You can read my post about cold and flu season here:

Thank you for visiting Healthy Moms!

Geri said...

I wouldn't get a flu shot if I was pregnant, a child, or elderly. I think the problems with mercury outweigh any possible benefit. Particularly, because the flu shot is not always effective.