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Flu Vaccine

Hi Everyone!!

As you know flu season is upon us and every year our patients want to know if they should get the flu vaccine in pregnancy.

The influenza virus infects thousands of people each year resulting in 12, 200 hospitalizations and 3, 500 deaths per year.  It comes from two different strains and unfortunately manages to mutate creating new strains every year.  Health Canada and the Centers for Disease Control in the United States consider some groups as high risk for influenza related to complications such as pneumonia, respiratory distress and hospitalization.  

These groups include:

 

*All pregnant women (risk increases with length of gestation)

*Adults and children with the following chronic health conditions:

  • cardiac and pulmonary disorders
  • diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases
  • cancer and other immune compromising conditions
  • renal disease
  • anemia or hemoglobinopathy
  • neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions
  • morbid obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 40)
  • children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)

*Residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities

*People 65 years of age and older

*All children younger than 60 months of age 

*Indigenous peoples

 

 

Since many of you fit into the first category or are hoping to be in that category, it's imperative you get vaccinated.  Fever a common side effect of the flu, can cause brain and spinal cord defects in developing fetuses.  Getting vaccinated will reduce your risk of getting the flu by 40-60%.  This is supported by every scientific and clinical society including the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

 

Is it safe for the baby?  Yes.  It is 100% safe.  There is no transmission of vaccine particles across the placenta, but the baby is protected even after birth for several months from maternal antibodies.  You can't use the nasal spray vaccine.  The inactivated vaccine is the right one for pregnant patients.

 

Where can I get vaccinated?  We have the correct vaccine in the office.  Alternatively, it should be available at most family physicians offices and even some pharmacies.

 

Can I get the flu from the vaccine?  You may get mild symptoms including a very low grade temperature and some aching, but you can't get influenza from the vaccine, since it only contains dead and inactivated virus.

 

What if I get influenza during pregnancy?  Please contact your doctor immediately.  We have medications that can shorten the duration and severity of the infection. 

 

But this shouldn't happen,  if you all just get vaccinated!

 

If you need more info, check here:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm

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