Not only is the influenza vaccine approved for use in pregnancy, it is recommended that all women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant during the influenza season (October-March) be vaccinated. The influenza vaccine that will be used during the 2011-2012 influenza season will contain the same viral strains as the 2010-2011 vaccine. The viral strains are H1N1, H3N2, and Influenza B. Even though the viral strains are the same, immunity can wane and obtaining an annual influenza vaccination is strongly recommended.
This year, there is a new formulation of influenza vaccine available. Fluzone intradermal is formulated for adults 18 to 64 years of age. Fluzone intradermal vaccine is an attenuated virus vaccine formulated for injection into the dermal layer of the skin. The intradermal formulation does not contain the preservative thimerosal. This formulation does provide immunity against the influenza A viruses H1N1 and H3N2 but does not provide sufficient immunity against the influenza B virus. Because influenza during pregnancy increases the risk of untoward effects for the mother and fetus, the attenuated live Fluzone intradermal vaccine is not recommended for use during pregnancy. The recommendation of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology is to take the Fluzone intramuscular influenza vaccine during pregnancy because it is an attenuated virus vaccine instead of a live virus vaccine (FluMist, Fluzone intradermal).
Pregnant women are more susceptible to severe illness; and therefore, should receive vaccination at any stage of pregnancy (any trimester).
“Flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from flu as well as hospitalizations and even death. Pregnant woman with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Flu shots will protect pregnant women, their unborn babies and even protect the baby after birth.”
The flu shot has been given now for over 60 years and millions of pregnant women have received it over the years. Flu shots have not been found to cause harm to pregnant women and their babies.
“Based on reports to CDC from state and local health departments, 280 pregnant women with influenza (2009 H1N1), and with symptom onset between April and December 2009 were admitted to an intensive care unit – of these, 56 women died.”
For more information on the Influenza Vaccine in Pregnancy visit:
The influenza vaccines by trade name that contain thimerosal include Fluzone (multi-dose vial only), Fluvirin, FluLaval, and Afluria (multi-dose vial only). For more information from the CDC about influenza vaccination, please click on the link below.