Hi everyone!

I found a pretty good article on CNN about the H1N1 vaccine and pregnancy. Please reply if you have heard anything else about the vaccine and possible side effects.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/09/16/pregnancy.h1n1.flu/index.html

Thanks!

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I've copy/pasted the article below, just in case they pull if from the website before everyone has a chance to read it:

By Sabriya Rice
CNN Medical Producer

(CNN) -- For the past several months, Amy Wolf has been glued to the television, intently watching for information on how best to prepare for H1N1 flu.


Eight months pregnant, Amy Wolf (shown with her husband and son) signed up for an H1N1 vaccine trial.

She usually does not worry about the flu, but this year is different: Wolf is eight months into her second pregnancy. "I watch the news like crazy, and it seems like every time I would watch or read something, there was a picture of a pregnant woman," Wolf says.

She's right to be concerned. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnancy puts Wolf at higher risk of complications for flu in general, and so far that also holds true for the novel 2009 H1N1 virus. The most recent data show that from April 15 to May 18, 2009, thirty-four percent of the pregnant women infected with the H1N1 virus were hospitalized, and by June, six pregnant women had died.

"I've never heard of something affecting pregnant women more than anyone else," says Wolf.

More worrisome -- the virus is already widespread in Tennessee, where she lives. Wolf says a neighbor's son was recently hospitalized. "[H1N1] just seems more real to me than a lot of the other health concerns." Track the H1N1 virus

A perusal through our Empowered Patient inbox found swine flu is a hot topic among pregnant women. We took the questions we received to experts for answers.

According to a guide for pregnant women released by the CDC, the H1N1 vaccine "will be made using the same processes and facilities used to make seasonal influenza vaccines," which are already proven to be safe, and are currently recommended for pregnant women.

"We anticipate the safety to be similar to the seasonal flu vaccine, which has been given to millions of pregnant women and has not been shown to have any adverse events in pregnant women or their children," says Artealia Gilliard, a spokeswoman for the CDC.

However, recognizing that pregnant women in particular may be hesitant, Dr. Jesse Goodman, chief scientist for the Food and Drug Administration, says "out of an abundance of caution" researchers are conducting studies on pregnant women and other high-risk groups. "It's always good to have more information," Goodman says. The FDA approves and licenses the vaccine. Quiz: Test your H1N1 knowledge

About 120 expecting mothers are participating in clinical trials across the country. Health officials anticipate the results of these studies will be available in the coming weeks. Watch more on the vaccine trials »

Should I get the H1N1 vaccine, a regular seasonal flu shot (or both) while I am pregnant?

The CDC encourages pregnant women to get the seasonal flu shot now because it's available, and to also get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

"A pregnant woman who gets any type of flu is at risk for serious complications and hospitalization," the CDC says in its guide for pregnant women. Gilliard also says this is important no matter which trimester you are in. "It should not be delayed until beyond the first trimester because even pregnant women in the first trimester have become very ill," she wrote in an e-mail.

As a woman advances in her pregnancy, her immune system becomes more compromised, which is one of the reasons both the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend women who will be pregnant during the flu season get flu shots.

If I get the vaccine while pregnant, will this also protect the baby when he/she is born?

"One of the things the body does very well is give antibodies to the babies," says Dr. Buddy Creech, a researcher conducting clinical trials on pregnant women at Vanderbilt University. "It's one of the greatest reasons we vaccinate pregnant women."

Creech says past flu studies have found that when women get flu shots before giving birth, they help build immunity for their child that is particularly helpful during the infant's first few months of life.

"If we're going to protect those children, it'll be with vaccines rather than drugs," Creech says.

Is it safe to get vaccinated while breastfeeding? Should my newborn also be vaccinated?

According to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, the H1N1 vaccine will be recommended for children ages six months and older. Newborns and infants younger than 6 months cannot receive the vaccine.

Health officials say breastfeeding is one way a mother might be able to help protect her baby. "The vaccine is safe if she breastfeeds, and she may even pass along some immunity to her infant," says Gilliard of the CDC. "It will also reduce the chance that [the mom] will get the flu and pass it to her infant."

What's the difference between the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 vaccine?

The seasonal flu vaccine is updated each year to protect against the predominant flu strains expected to circulate during the flu season.

Health officials say the process and formulation of the H1N1 vaccine is identical to that of the seasonal flu shot. The main difference is that the novel 2009 H1N1 strain was first seen in April 2009, after the seasonal vaccine had been developed.

Health Library
MayoClinic.com: H1N1 influenza
MayoClinic.com: Pregnancy & fertility
Will the H1N1 vaccine be free of thimerosal?

According to the CDC, versions of the H1N1 vaccine will be ordered with and without the preservative thimerosal. Preservatives are sometimes used in vaccines to help prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria that find their way into the vaccine vials. Read what the CDC says about Thimerosal in H1N1 vaccines

The FDA has approved applications from four manufacturers to begin producing the novel 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine. In all, some 40 million to 50 million doses are expected to be produced.

Amy Wolf is not as worried anymore: On September 15, she became one of the first pregnant women in the United States to receive the vaccine. She participated in the clinical trial at Vanderbilt University, where she is employed. "I thought If I could do something now to protect both myself and my baby, then it just seems stupid not to."


Wolf signed up only after speaking with the researchers at the university and her OB-GYN, and asking a ton of questions. She says, for her, the benefits of participating outweighed the risks.

"I really don't feel like a guinea pig," Wolf says. "I haven't had a single medical professional tell me I shouldn't do it. And that made me feel really confident."
I really don't know about this. I've never had the flu, never had a flu shot, and my kids don't get them either.

I'm so skeptical about who is putting out the information and who's benefitting financially from it. There was a youtube video where a scientist involved in creating the H1N1 vacc was recommending his friends and family NOT take it. I'll try to find it and post it.
"This vaccine, even among people in the medical community, is not considered safe."

I guess for many people it will come down to risk and whether you are at greater risk for contracting the disease and coping with it, than risking the side effects from the vaccine.

My family and I are voting no on it. But that's just us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4SmFxyust0
Kate, thanks so much for posting that link. Very informative. I think its sad that we have to watch news from other countries to get this information. I haven't seen much coverage on my news channel that does anything but encourage you to rush right out and get the vaccine.

In the beginning I was going to get the vaccine. I work in a school with small children and felt like it would be the best thing to do. But I was reading posts on another topic on this board (including some that I think you posted) and it got me thinking and researching. I decided to take my chances with the flu than risk the effects/dangers associated with the (mostly unresearched) vaccine.

I read somewhere that most medical professionals are saying it would be better to build up our natural immunities to H1N1 now while it is still a mild illness, rather than vaccinate and risk having no immunities to it in the event that it becomes a more serious/strong illness in the future.

Thanks again for the post :)
"it would be better to build up our natural immunities to H1N1 now while it is still a mild illness, rather than vaccinate and risk having no immunities to it in the event that it becomes a more serious/strong illness in the future."

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this. It IS natural immunity that responds to a vaccine ... it's not artificial immunity but your very own immune system. What would the difference be between actual exposure to the current H1N1 strain and the vaccine strain (which for now would be about the same). If it mutated it wouldn't matter if you were immune to THIS one regardless of what form you were exposed to it (vaccine or live from another person).
I think the main issue I have with getting the vacc is what is in the vaccines. There is also the fact they they got FDA approval with a mock vaccination. We have a habit in this country of making quick decisions trying to protect ourselves and then looking back and realizing we'd jumped the gun and will inevitably suffer the hard consequences.

I'm not sure if you're right about your body not having any immunity to a mutated strain of the disease. People speculate that the reason those over 50 are not contracting the disease is that they were most likely exposed to something similar before. It isn't the same thing we have going around now, but it's close enough that their body's know how to fend it off. It seems to me the same would apply.

Something else I've read(unrelated to your comment) is that all the children who have dies from the disease ALL had a bacterial infection at the time they contracted H1N1. This equals a compromised immune system and also compounds with the normal symptoms, resulting in something far more dangerous.
I think you misunderstood what was meant by the people dying of a bacterial infection. Influenza compromises your respiratory system, making it easier for bacteria to take over in your lungs and cause a secondary bacterial pneumonia. The children didn't have the bacterial infections before, they got them as a result of the flu.
I've heard this argument/response a lot when expressing my concerns on getting the vaccine, but I don't get the regular flu vaccine either, so it still doesn't apply a whole lot in my life.

I don't like the preservatives in vaccines(I know they thermisol free but that's not all that's in their, and they are REALLY hard to get in my experience). I see that vaccines have their place on certain situations, and I value that. It is absolutely a situation where we weigh the risks and decide what's best for our selves(and our family).

In our country I've seen money as a driving factor behind too many things. Why is homebirth SO opposed? Because it takes money out of hospitals? Why are VBAC's and vaginal breech deliveries NOT an option at the majority of hospitals? People are afraid to get sued, and they can't pay the malpractice insurance. Why is gov't pushing this vaccine SO hard? Because they ordered 250 million doses in a country with 300 million people. That means they are banking on the fact that 83% of the population will get the vaccine. I understand that it's "better safe than sorry", but our gov't doesn't like to spend money and not get it back. We are a capital driven society and capital is much of what I see behind the reasons for such heavy promotion.

But that's just me.
Absolutely! I'm all for homebirths. Research has shown that in healthy, low risk pregnancy's, home births result in fewer interventions and better outcomes for mom and baby. There's risks and benefits to every intervention and every drug/medication/vaccine on the market. The US health care system has srewed up royally in it's prenatal care of women. Doctors are supposed to make evidence-based decisions from what the research has shown. Sadly, convience, dollars and cents have gotten in the way, and patients have not been well informed of the risks and benefits of the intervetions they have signed up for. The US has the highest C-section rate, and the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world. Doctors have been doing something wrong. Research has shown that. But I don't think that doctors should be the ones to point the finger at. I blame the whole system. Drug companies are a huge money-making industry. The entire health care system in the US is based on making $ from the sick. It is up to you, the consumer to determine which information is true and credible; which drugs you need and which you don't. Do find out what research has been done, and what does it show? Think critically because there is a lot of misinformation out there, and I think that it stems from the very distrust you are talking about. I posted a guideline for that I use to find credible and evidence based information. I think it's great to be skepticle and ask questions, but there is so much conflicting and confusing information out there so be careful that you are looking in the right places. Confusing I know...

I see Obama trying to change things and I see people picketing and saying things like "take the Candian out of helath care", and I don't understand. I know our system is heavily flawed as well but at least I know that no one is profiting from sickness, fear and ignorance. I'm not trying to sound like I'm bashing american's I'm jsut trying to come to a better understanding of where the growing antivaccine movement comes from. I hope you understand. Here the govt puts huge $ into educating people to make healthy choices, and PREVENT disesase. That saves $ in the long run. Midwives are encouraged here, and elective c- sections are not optional. Where I live, even an epidural is not optional, it can onlybe used when other modes of pain relief aren't enough, and only when the woman insists on it, but I know it's not like that everywhere in Canada. Just food for thought.
Money makes the world go 'round. Does not mean the MAIN or ONLY reason a certain number of docs are against home birth are due to fear of losing money. Recommendations are NOT always due to money...I think the people recommending H1N1 vaccination honestly believe it is in the best interest of those at risk. It's not like alternative health folks don't go out and create 'products' that sell. Vitamins, supplements, and other holistic treatments aren't ALL free either. Mercola.com isn't a non-profit...is it?
Maybe it varies with the location, but I got my thimerisol-free seasonal flu vaccine this year earlier than most (even before the hospital I work for had it) and within the next week or so our local OB offices are expected to get the thimerisol-free H1N1 vaccs for patients. So they are out there...just have to ask around.
My thoughts about preservatives in vaccines are this….Chemicals are added to vaccines to inactivate a virus or bacteria and stabilize the vaccine, and to preserve it so it dosn't lose it's effectiveness over time. The amount of chemical added is very very small. Mercery is in fish, aluminum in deoderant, formaldehyde in nail polish, pesticides all over our produce, preservatives in all kinds of packaged foods and cancer causing chemicals in the air we breath. .Thimerosal is an organic mercury (there are 2 types of mercury, this is the same type found in fish- aka methyl mercury)-containing preservative added to many vaccines.

The EPA health guideline for methyl mercury is 0.1 ug/kg body weight per day or 6 ug to 8 ug per day for the average adult(1). A single can of tuna contains approximately 65 ug of mercury. The unaduvented h1n1 flu vaccine contains 5ug, and the aduvented vaccine contains 50 ug. I believe the us is only using the unaduvented vaccine.

http://www.flcv.com/amalno1.html
http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/Product-SpecificInformation/Seaf...
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/faq_rg_h1n1-eng.php#av

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