Wednesday, December 13

H1N1 Vaccine And Pregnancy: Guidelines And Precautions

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It differed from the usual seasonal influenza virus in its rapidity of spread, altered genetic constituency, increased virulence, high co-morbid rate, relatively higher death rate as well as its non responsiveness to the usual seasonal influenza virus vaccine. Therefore, the world has to take precautions and they did just that by stating the novel H1N1 as a pandemic. Many took notice of the disease only once they realize the potential of a pandemic infection.

The risk groups:

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in United States, there are many risk groups which are more susceptible in contracting the disease as well as in going into complications more often than the others. Among these risk groups, pregnant mothers of all trimesters as well as mothers who have just delivered or terminated pregnancy (the first 2 weeks in the post partum period) are considered highly important and was considered as needing special attention in its preventive campaign.

Risk of pregnant mothers:

According to the CDC, among the flu deaths as at August 2009, 6% were pregnant mothers and its significance can be seen when comparing the number of pregnant mothers in the population which stood only at around 1%. Thus, it clearly states the vulnerability of that group and emphasizes the need for them to be protected from the ongoing H1N1 pandemic.

Two types of vaccines:

The vaccines which were already available for seasonal influenza was seen as ineffective against the novel H1N1 and they had to come up with a new vaccine which ultimately came as a ‘monovalent vaccine’. The producers of the vaccine were able to produce two types of vaccine in which, one was a injection similar to the flu-shot and the other a nasal spray vaccine. The injection contained only a killed virus whereas the nasal spray contained a live, but less threatening, breed of the H1N1 virus.

The recommendation:

The CDC recommendations in giving the vaccine were that all pregnant women in whatever trimester should receive the injectable form of the vaccine which is safer than the nasal spray. At the same time, the CDC recommended giving the pregnant mothers the usual ‘flu shot’ as well. It further stated that, both vaccines can be given at the same time, but, into two different locations in the body.

Things to watch for:

When giving the vaccine, the recommendation was to avoid the nasal spray vaccine and even when giving the ‘flu shot’ or the ‘Monovalent H1N1 vaccine’, to take precautions if there are allergies to egg proteins.


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