Can children get vaccinated when their mother is pregnant?
The CDC states that “pregnancy of recipient’s mother or other close or household contact” is not a contraindication to getting vaccinated, even for live vaccines like MMR or Varivax.
Vaccines for Pregnant Women
What about pregnant women?
Are vaccines safe or necessary for them?
While they shouldn’t get live vaccines, like MMR, Varivax, Flumist, or the yellow fever vaccine, or the HPV vaccine, it is safe and necessary for pregnant women to get most other vaccines.
In fact, all pregnant women should get:
- a flu vaccine – any trimester – a recommendation that has been evolving since 1983
- the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation
Getting vaccinated during pregnancy helps protect newborn babies and infants against the flu and pertussis (whooping cough).
Are Vaccines During Pregnancy Really Safe?
What about the idea that vaccines have never been tested for safety or effectiveness in pregnancy?
“Health care providers and patients should be aware that the reassuring safety data for use of the aforementioned vaccines in pregnancy are compelling, and there is no link to vaccine administration and miscarriage.”
ACOG on Vaccines Routinely Recommended during Pregnancy
The seasonal flu and Tdap vaccines, the two most commonly recommended are safe and effective in pregnancy. And so are the others that are not contraindicated.
In fact, the Vaccine Safety Datalink has published 14 studies “related to pregnancy and vaccination during pregnancy” and is “also able to use data to study the health of children born to women who were vaccinated during pregnancy.”
What About the Association of Flu Shots with Miscarriages?
You may have seen the headlines about a new study in which “Researchers find hint of a link between flu vaccine and miscarriage.”
Published in the journal Vaccine, the study did find that having a miscarriage “was associated with influenza vaccination in the preceding 28 days.”
The “modest” association only held during the 2010-12 flu seasons though and only if:
- the mother had also received an H1N1 flu vaccine the previous year
- the flu vaccine was given early in her pregnancy
The association was found by comparing two small groups of women who were pregnant during flu season, including one whose pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. They then compared the two groups to find differences. And the main difference they found was that the group with the miscarriages were more likely to have had a flu shot the previous year. So that is the link, association, or maybe more appropriately named – the correlation.
“This study does not quantify the risk of miscarriage and does not prove that flu vaccine was the cause of the miscarriage.”CDC on Flu Vaccination & Possible Safety Signal
Interestingly, the study found no association between having a flu shot during the same season and having a miscarriage. The pregnant women in the control group were just as like to have flu shots, even early in their pregnancy.
It is also important to note that several other studies have not found an association between miscarriages and flu shots, including an almost identical study that looked at the 2005-07 flu seasons!
“A recent publication has reported a safety signal concerning influenza vaccination when given very early in the first trimester. In this study, influenza vaccination, when given in very early pregnancy, was associated with an increased risk of a pregnancy loss within the first 28 days following vaccination. Scientifically, it is unclear why this would occur. There was no association seen with a pregnancy loss more than 28 days after vaccination. In the same study, when vaccination was given either later in the first trimester or in the second or third trimester, there was no association seen with pregnancy loss or any other adverse pregnancy outcomes. Additional studies are needed to address the concern raised by this study.”ACOG statement It is Safe to Receive Flu Shot During Pregnancy
So it is still safe to get a flu shot while you are pregnant, as this possible association continues to be studied. There are already ongoing studies looking at flu shots and pregnancy during the 2012 through 2015 flu seasons that will be completed next year.
“Two other medical journals rejected the article before a third, Vaccine, accepted it. Dr. Gregory Poland, Vaccine’s editor-in-chief, said it was a well-designed study that raised a question that shouldn’t be ignored. But he doesn’t believe flu shots caused the miscarriages. “Not at all,” said Poland, who also is director of vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic.
Though this study may cause worry and confusion, it is evidence “of just how rigorous and principled our vaccine safety monitoring system is,” said Jason Schwartz, a Yale University vaccine policy expert.”AP report Study prompts call to examine flu vaccine and miscarriage
While most experts don’t think that getting a flu shot while you are pregnant is harmful, even considering this new study, they do know that getting the flu is.
What To Know About Vaccines During Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, getting your Tdap and flu vaccines can help keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
More Information on Vaccines During Pregnancy:
- Is Measles Dangerous If You Are Pregnant?
- Why is the Tdap Vaccine in Category C?
- CDC – Flu Vaccination & Possible Safety Signal
- ACOG – It is Safe to Receive Flu Shot During Pregnancy
- Does the flu vaccine cause miscarriages?
- There is no evidence vaccines cause miscarriages
- Influenza Vaccine Has Been Studied in Pregnant Women
- Safety of Flu and Pertussis Vaccines in Pregnancy Assessed
- The real story on the flu vaccine during pregnancy
- Pregnancy and influenza – new data shows death rate of 25% for those who get critically ill
- CDC – General Recommendations on Vaccination
- ACIP – Guidance for Vaccine Recommendations for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
- ACOG – Update on Immunization and Pregnancy Tetanus Diphtheria
- ACOG – Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy
- Vaccines in Pregnancy-Related Journal Articles
- CDC – Questions and Answers About Vaccines During Pregnancy
- CDC – Immunization and Pregnancy chart
- CDC – Common Misperceived Contraindications to Vaccination
- Study – Trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion.What ingredient specifically scares you in the flu vaccine and why?Vaccinations and pregnancy
- Vaccines during pregnancy
- Protecting Your Baby’s Health Starts with Vaccines in Pregnancy
- Safety of Flu and Pertussis Vaccines in Pregnancy Assessed
- Flu vaccine during pregnancy – protects the infant
- Protecting Baby Before He is Born
- Flu shot lowers odds for preemies
- Vaccines , Pregnancy and my PhD
- CDC recommends pertussis vaccination for all pregnant women
- Study prompts call to examine flu vaccine and miscarriage
- Researchers find hint of a link between flu vaccine and miscarriage