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.
In order to alley any fears regarding use of influenza vaccination, President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG),Dr.Haywood L. Brown, M.D. has released the following statement on the safety of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy:“ACOG continues to recommend that all women receive the influenza vaccine. This is particularly important during pregnancy. Influenza vaccination is an essential element of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and mortality due to influenza. In addition, maternal vaccination is the most effective strategy to protect newborns because the vaccine is not approved for use in infants younger than six months.
“The safety of vaccines used during pregnancy is of critical concern to ob-gyns. ACOG carefully tracks pregnancy-related vaccine safety information through its involvement in the National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) through the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For many years, ACOG and the CDC have recommended that every pregnant woman receive a flu shot in any trimester. Multiple published studies, as well as clinical experience, have all supported the belief that the flu vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy.
Regarding reports of miscarriage associated with influenza vaccination it was opined that 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.
“In evaluating all of the available scientific information, there is insufficient information to support changing the current recommendation which is to offer and encourage routine flu vaccinations during pregnancy regardless of the trimester of pregnancy.”
For more information on the safety of influenza vaccination during pregnancy visit ACOG’s Immunization for Women website.