Saturday, September 30, 2023

When Should You Get The Flu Shot During Pregnancy

Must read

Safety And Side Effects

Flu vaccine for pregnant women

Seasonal flu vaccination has been recommended in pregnancy for several years in many countries. An increasing number of studies have shown it to be safe in all stages of pregnancy, including the first three months, and to have an important reduction in serious complications for the mother and baby. Read the abstracts of a US study from 2009 and a US study from 2012.

Another US study published in 2017 studied the effects of flu vaccination in the first three months of pregnancy. It looked at birth defects in over 52,000 babies who had been exposed to the flu vaccine in the first three months of pregnancy. By comparing this group with over 370,000 babies who had not been exposed to the flu vaccine, the study showed that having the flu vaccine in early pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of birth defects.

The most commonly reported side effects of flu vaccines are:

  • pain, swelling, bruising, hardness or redness at the injection site
  • slightly raised temperature

How Much Does It Cost And Where Can I Get It

Most insurers cover the cost of flu vaccines as part of preventive care. People who are 65 or older enrolled in Medicare Part B plans and most people on Medicaid can also receive their annual flu shots at no personal cost. And those without any insurance can access free or low-cost flu shots through state health departments, employer vouchers or federal initiatives like the Vaccines for Children Program.

You can use the C.D.C.s vaccine portal to find clinics, pharmacies and other locations that offer flu vaccines near you.

How Effective Is The Flu Vaccination In Pregnancy Programme

The flu vaccine works better in some years than others .

US studies of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009 found that pregnant women were four times as likely to develop serious illness and up to five times as likely to be admitted to hospital, compared with the general population. As a result of the evidence from this pandemic, pregnant women were added to the list of groups considered to be at higher risk from seasonal flu.

In the UK between 2009 and 2012, flu was the cause of death for 36 women who died during pregnancy or shortly afterwards. It is estimated that half of these deaths could have been prevented by flu vaccination. See the 2014 summary report from MBRRACE-UK .

Recent research covering almost 20,000 pregnant women over six years in the United States, Australia, Israel, and Canada, showed that the flu vaccine provided a 40% reduction in hospitalisations from flu. The PREVENT study looked at data between 2010 and 2016 to identify flu-related hospital admissions .

Studies have shown that women who have been vaccinated against flu are less likely to give birth prematurely, and less likely to have a low-birthweight baby . Other studies have shown that women who have the flu vaccine while pregnant are less likely to experience stillbirth .

Flu vaccination in pregnancy also means that flu antibodies are transferred through the placenta to the baby. This gives the baby some protection against flu for the first few months of life.

Recommended Reading: Efficacy Of Flumist Vs Flu Shot

Should I Go To The Er If I Have The Flu

  • Dizziness, confusion or the inability to wake up.
  • Extreme weakness or unsteadiness.
  • Fever or cough that comes and goes or gets worse.
  • High fever that doesnt change after taking acetaminophen.
  • No urine for an extended period.
  • Ongoing pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen.
  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath.

So What About The Research Linking Flu Shots And Miscarriage

Yes, Pregnant Women Should Get a Flu Shot

Many studies over several years have shown the relative safety of the flu vaccine in pregnancy. Although studies involving women in the first trimester of pregnancy are limited, those studies that did include women vaccinated in the first trimester of pregnancy did not show an association with miscarriage.

In a recent study, the data suggest an association between getting a flu shot and having a miscarriage within 28 days of the vaccine, especially in those women who were also vaccinated against the H1N1 strain in the prior year.

These results are surprising. One potential explanation is the specific inflammatory response triggered by the H1N1 vaccine, with a repeat vaccination causing an even more significant response to occur. As noted by the authors of a commentary published with the original article, One important takeaway message from this study is that seasonal vaccine formulations are not all the same.

Expert panels including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have not changed their opinion based on these study results, noting that the study included only a small number of women, and those results are not outweighed by the significant amount of existing data supporting flu vaccine safety. The current guidelines that the flu vaccine is strongly recommended in pregnancy, and is safe to be given in any trimester, remain unchanged.

About the Author

Andrea Chisholm, MD, Contributor

Also Check: What Is A Flu Block

The Flu Vaccination: Who Should Have It And Why

This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: .

Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

This publication is available at

Dont Miss: Flu And Severe Cold Daytime Green Tea

Why You Should Vaccinate Against Influenza In Pregnancy

Influenza vaccination is safe, free and recommended for pregnant women in each pregnancy.

Receiving the influenza vaccine when pregnant is the best way to protect newborn babies against influenza and other complications that can harm developing babies.

Why should you vaccinate against influenza in pregnancy?

00:06—> 00:22Influenza is not just a cold its a serious disease for pregnant women and their developing babies. Many women dont realise that during pregnancy there are changes to their immune, heart and lung functions that make them more vulnerable to severe illness from influenza.

00:23—> 00:28Im getting vaccinated because I had no idea how serious influenza really is for women during pregnancy.

00:29—> 00:32The influenza vaccine is safe at any time during pregnancy.

00:33—> 00:36Im getting vaccinated to protect myself and my baby.

00:37—> 00:45Influenza infection in infants can be dangerous. In the worst cases, it can lead to death from serious respiratory problems and pneumonia.

00:46 —> 00:56Thats why getting vaccinated during pregnancy is so important because it passes on protective antibodies to your baby which will protect them in the first few months of life when they are most vulnerable.

00:57 –> 01:07Im getting vaccinated because influenza is dangerous and I want to make sure my new born baby is protected until theyre old enough to get the influenza vaccination themselves at six months of age.

01:24 —> 01:28

Don’t Miss: Does Caresource Cover Flu Shots

When Should I Get A Flu Shot During Pregnancy

Flu season can last from as early as October until as late as May. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot as early in each flu season as possible so youre protected from the start.

But its never too late to get immunized. So if you havent yet been vaccinated against the flu, go now! And remember: The vaccine is updated yearly, and immunity wanes with time so even if you got the flu shot last year, you need to get one again this season.

Flu Vaccine Safety And Pregnancy

Why you should vaccinate against influenza in pregnancy

Questions & Answers

Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices United States, 2022-2023 Influenza Season has been published. Related updates to this page are forthcoming. CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older in the United States should get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception. More information about the 2022-2023 flu season is also available.

Note: There is no recommendation that pregnant people or people with pre-existing medical conditions need to get special permission or written consent from their doctor or health care professional for influenza vaccination if they get vaccinated at a worksite clinic, pharmacy or other location outside of their physicians office. Pregnant people should not get nasal spray flu vaccine. More information is available at Misconceptions about Seasonal Flu and Flu Vaccines.

Don’t Miss: How Much Tylenol Cold And Flu Severe Should I Take

Safe Allergy Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Oral antihistamines, like cetirizine , chlorpheniramine , diphenhydramine , fexofenadine , and loratadine seem to be safe. So does cromolyn sodium nasal spray and the steroid nasal spray Rhinocort, according to Web MD.
  • Allergy shots: If you took allergy shots before pregnancy, your doctor might recommend you continue taking them. But do not start them while pregnant.
  • Sudafed 30-60 mg every 4-6 hours can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without gestational hypertension. Avoid use in the first trimester and with breastfeeding. Sudafed PE should be avoided because of its uncertain efficacy and safety in pregnancy.

Allergy Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Decongestants: During your first trimester, dont take decongestants by mouth, according to Web MD. Decongestants may make some birth defects more likely. Watch out for antihistamines combined with a decongestant. Because theres not enough evidence for their safety, avoid antihistamine nasal sprays.
  • Mucinex, Mucinex D, Mucinex DM, and the extra-strength versions of each, because the six forms of Mucinex contain guaifenesin. Avoid taking any of these during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, they may be safe to use during later trimesters. Ask your doctor.

Read Also: Medicine For Cold And Flu Symptoms

Flu Shots During Pregnancy

ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Is your head already spinning from all of the confusing information about the safety of routine vaccinations? Well, news of the latest findings regarding the flu vaccine during pregnancy certainly wont help things.

A group of researchers recently reported an association between a pregnant woman getting the flu vaccine and having a miscarriage.

The authors were clear that the study could not establish that flu shots cause miscarriage. It could only report the observation that, in this small group of women, miscarriage was slightly more common within 28 days of getting the flu shot but only in women who had also gotten a specific formulation of the flu shot the previous year. More research would be needed to draw conclusions beyond that.

But before you panic or march off to your next prenatal appointment to emphatically refuse this seasons flu vaccine, lets take a step back and look at this situation a little more carefully.

Read Also: Guillain Barré Flu Shot Lawsuit

Is The Flu Vaccine Safe In Pregnancy

Yes. Studies have shown that it’s safe to have a flu vaccine during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date.

Women who have had a flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

It’s safe for women who are breastfeeding to have a flu vaccine if they’re eligible .

Why Has The Flu Jab Been Linked To Miscarriage

Safe vaccinations to have before and during pregnancy

In 2017, a research study in the US suggested a possible link between the flu vaccine and miscarriage. This had a lot of media interest, which led people to ask if having the flu vaccine in pregnancy is safe for their baby.

Its completely understandable to worry about vaccine safety when youre pregnant. But this small piece of research did not show that the flu vaccine causes miscarriage.

There is a lot more scientific evidence that shows that the flu vaccine is safe to have at any time of pregnancy. Its also safe to have the vaccine if youre breastfeeding.

The study in question looked at women who had been given a swine flu vaccine between 2010 and 2012 and whether this increased their risk of miscarriage. These are the reasons the results from this study were too weak:

Getting the flu is harmful in pregnancy and increases the risk of problems for the baby. Public health authorities in the US and the UK still recommend that every pregnant woman has the flu jab to reduce these risks.

Don’t Miss: Test To See If You Have The Flu

How Effective Is The Flu Vaccine

Flu vaccines are based on what experts learn from previous seasons, influenza patterns in other parts of the world and estimates of how the virus might change. On average, flu vaccines help reduce the number of people who get sick by 40 percent to 60 percent, said Emily Martin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. That means that the vaccine can help prevent millions of influenza illnesses, as well as thousands of hospitalizations and deaths, per year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu causes roughly nine million to 40 million illnesses and 12,000 to 52,000 deaths annually.

In general, the vaccines tend to work better against illnesses caused by a strain of virus known as influenza B as well as by a subset of influenza A viruses, Dr. Martin said. The shots are less effective against a different subset of influenza A viruses that go by the scientific name H3N2. Thats because the H3N2 viruses mutate much faster and scientists predictions for how the vaccine can protect against these changes dont always match, Dr. Martin said.

Even if you do get sick after receiving a vaccine, the shot can reduce the severity of illness. That is really what we want to do: keep people out of hospitals, living normal lives, said Dr. H. Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

What Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or are planning to be, one of the first questions youll have is, what medications can I take and which ones are not safe during pregnancy? For the best answer to this question, start by having a discussion with your doctor. Discuss what medications you are currently taking and be sure to follow his or her advice. In general, here is a list of common drugs that are safe during pregnancy.

Also Check: When Am I Contagious With The Flu

Dr Laura Riley A Self

Just as the flu season kicks off in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported startling news about pregnant women and the flu: Pregnant women account for a significant number of flu hospitalizations every year yet only about half of pregnant women in the U.S. get the flu shot.

The CDC found that 54% of pregnant women reported getting a flu vaccine before or during pregnancy, and only about 35% receive both the flu and whooping cough vaccine, which also is strongly recommended for this group.

Pregnant women made up about a quarter to one-third of women of childbearing age who were hospitalized for influenza between 2010 and 2018. But only 9% of U.S. women ages 15 to 44 are pregnant at any given time. This is further evidence that pregnant women who get the flu are more likely to suffer severe complications.

The womens top reasons for not getting the flu vaccine, according to the CDC, were believing it wasnt effective and concerns about its safety for the fetus.

Dr. Riley, a self-described Flu Shot Queen, spoke to Health Matters about pregnancy and the flu, and why getting the flu vaccine is so important for expectant mothers.

Dr. Laura Riley

What Are The Risks Of Flu In Pregnancy

Getting a flu shot during pregnancy

Youre more likely to get the flu when youre pregnant because your immune system is weaker. Your risk of developing complications from flu is also higher, which can make you very ill. Bronchitis , is a common complication that can develop into pneumonia.

Getting the flu during pregnancy can also cause premature birth, low birthweight and even stillbirth.

The flu vaccine will help protect you and your baby during your pregnancy. It can also protect your baby for the first few months of life.

Don’t Miss: Best Otc Meds For Flu Like Symptoms

Should Seniors Pregnant Women And Young Children Get The Flu Shot

People who are 65 or older are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including pneumonia and inflammation of the lungs, that can cause difficulty breathing and lead to hospitalization and the need to be put on a ventilator. An influenza infection can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in older adults, said Dr. Tara Vijayan, an infectious disease doctor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. As we get older, we have a natural decline in our immune responses, she said.

The C.D.C. and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that pregnant women are vaccinated against the flu to protect themselves and their fetuses. Just as the body experiences immune decline while it ages, it also tones down its immune responses during pregnancy, Dr. Talbot said. And the diaphragm, a muscle below the lungs, tends to move higher to accommodate the growing fetus, changing the way pregnant women breathe and making them more susceptible to respiratory infections.

Children become eligible for flu shots at 6 months old. The very first time they receive a flu vaccine, they need to get two doses, four weeks apart. After that, they can get one flu shot a year, Dr. Talbot said. Children who are older than 2 have the option of getting the FluMist nasal vaccine if they are afraid of needles.

More articles

Popular Articles