Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Pregnant Women Say No to H1N1 Vaccine:

Pregnant Women are High Risk for Swine Flu, but Many Fear Effects of Vaccine
By Jennifer Ashton

(CBS) State officials told the federal government Wednesday how much vaccine they'll need to combat H1N1. Some of the first doses should go to pregnant women, who are 1 percent of the population but account for 6 percent of H1N1 deaths - 28 so far.

But not all pregnant women are eager to get the vaccine, reports CBS News Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

Erin Mahoney thinks she's lucky - not brave - to be one of approximately 100 pregnant women around the country testing the new swine flu vaccine.

"I saw no reason to be nervous about getting the vaccine now," Mahoney said.

CBS Special Report: H1N1

But many pregnant women are nervous about whether this new vaccine, which was produced and tested so quickly, is really safe. Only one in six pregnant women even get a regular flu shot.

"It's a difficult nut to crack, the pregnant population is resistant," said Dr. Iffath Hoskins, chair of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Lutheran Medical Center.

Clinical trials on the vaccine have found no safety problems so far. But when the vaccine is given to millions, the government doesn't want people to jump to conclusions about any complications that may occur. Some 2,400 miscarriages occur every day, so health officials caution people should not assume they were caused by the vaccine.

"Some medical events will happen in the days following the vaccination. The question is, are they related?" said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is pushing hard for doctors to vaccinate their patients, saying any possible risk from the vaccine is less serious than the risk from the virus. Angie Stuteville died this week in Missouri just after giving birth.

"The largest number of deaths is in the pregnant women," Hoskins said. "The baby's future depends on a live, healthy mother."

One added benefit of the vaccination is that a pregnant woman who gets vaccinated passes along the protection to her newborn.

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