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The Flu Shot During Pregnancy: Safe and Effective?

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  • The Flu Shot During Pregnancy: Safe and Effective?

    Christopher M. Zahn, MD

    A New Concern for Pregnant Women?

    Earlier this fall, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded study[1] found a possible association between influenza vaccine and pregnancy loss. Specifically, this study found that pregnant women who received the influenza vaccine containing the pandemic H1N1 (H1N1pdm09) component and who also had been vaccinated the previous season with an H1N1pdm09-containing flu vaccine had an increased odds ratio of pregnancy loss within the first 28 days following vaccination.

    Despite decades of research establishing influenza vaccination as a safe and essential part of prenatal care,[2] the information presented in this study may cause some concern in pregnant women. However, it is important to highlight that even the CDC study authors acknowledge several significant limitations to the study. Furthermore, their own conclusion was that the study does not and cannot establish a causal relationship between repeated influenza vaccination and spontaneous abortion.[1] That is why this flu season, women's healthcare providers play a particularly vital role in advising pregnant women to receive the influenza vaccination.