Last year, pregnant women were advised to have a two-shot preventative flu shot series. The first shot was given for seasonal flu and the second for the H1N1 strain of flu. H1N1 did not become a major threat until after the year’s supply of seasonal vaccinations were already produced and ready for use.Thus, the two shot requirement. This year, an all-in-one flu shot has been developed so pregnant women can have full protection from both seasonal and H1N1 flu without having to take two shots. The all-in-one flu shot is formulated to protect against H3N2, influenza B and H1N1 from 2009.
Dr. Jennifer Howse, the president of the March of Dimes offers this advice to pregnant women, “Based on expert medical opinion, we urge all pregnant women, and women who expect to become pregnant, to get their influenza immunization because the flu poses a serious risk of illness and death during pregnancy.” Flu vaccinations are considered safe for use during pregnancy.
In order to get the point across to pregnant women and women who expect to become pregnant during the flu season, 10 organizations have gathered together to sign a letter sent to health care providers. The organizations that signed include the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
In 2009, pregnant women in the United States accounted for only 1% of the total world pregnant population, but 5% of the total deaths due to H1N1 flu. When pregnant women protect themselves from the flu they also protect those around them.
Source: March of Dimes. 16 September, 2010.