Area students to receive flu shots at school

Faith Castro
September 14, 2017

A study described by some as puzzling, of pregnancies in the USA, found that women who miscarried from 2010 to 2012 were more apt to have had flu vaccines for two straight years that included protection from swine flu.

Researchers stressed that this observational data isn't almost strong enough to warrant changes to vaccine recommendations.

It's the first study to identify a potential link between miscarriage and the flu vaccine and the first to assess the effect of repeat influenza vaccination and risk of miscarriage.

"Some people may experience some cold like symptoms depending on their immune system but get the flu shot no matter what unless you have some religious or moral reasons not to". The researchers need to determine if the vaccine causes miscarriage or if women who were more likely to have miscarriages received the flu vaccine. Only four of the comparable 485 healthy pregnancies had involved women that were vaccinated in that manner.

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The study compared 485 women who miscarried with an equal number who did not miscarry during the flu seasons of 2010-11 and 2011-12. Of the women who miscarried, 17 had received flu vaccine in the 28 days before the miscarriage, and had also been immunized the prior flu season.

The study had limitations, the CDC said, including small numbers of participants, and the fact that it couldn't estimate the actual risk of a miscarriage after vaccination. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. The elderly, young children and pregnant women are especially at risk. The authors speculate that the association they observed - if it is real - may be related to an immunological response to having been vaccinated in two consecutive influenza seasons with the same vaccines.

At the event, members of the 2017 Virginia Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Advisory Group released their consensus statement urging healthcare workers to protect themselves and their patients and set an example for their community by getting their annual influenza vaccine. The CDC is already involved in a study concerning three recent flu seasons, but will not have results until 2018 or 2019 at the earliest.

Since 2004, the CDC and other organizations have recommended routine flu vaccination for pregnant women regardless of their stage of pregnancy.

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