Flu Vaccines and Pregnant Women

According to a new study funded by the Centers for Disease Control, getting a flu shot while pregnant increases the risk of spontaneous abortion. Researchers conducted a case control study covering two flu seasons. Cases had spontaneous abortions and matched controls had live births or stillbirths. The researchers looked at vaccination with inactivated flu vaccine between 1-28 days before spontaneous abortions and determined that the risk of spontaneous abortion increased by 7.7 times as a result of getting a flu shot both during the current and previous season.

While the researchers noted that the study could not and did not establish a causal relationship between repeated flu vaccines and spontaneous abortion, they did advise that “further research is warranted.”

But the CDC indicates no interest in further research. A statement on its website in response to this new study reads “At this time, the CDC and ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) have not changed the recommendation for influenza vaccination of pregnant women. It is recommended that pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy because flu poses a danger to pregnant women, and a flu vaccine can prevent influenza in pregnant women.”

The CDC cites many reasons why its own study results should be ignored such as:

  1. “It is possible that women who have an increased risk for miscarriage might also be more likely to have received influenza vaccine.” These conditions could have made the women more likely to miscarry.  ALL pregnant women are encouraged to have flu vaccines, not just those at risk of miscarriage. This is a ludicrous defense.
  2. “Many miscarriages occur early in pregnancy and may not come to medical attention. The impact on the study findings of miscarriages that were not identified is unknown.” The CDC states that there may be more miscarriages that were not recorded. The addition of more miscarriages might serve to strengthen, not weaken the findings.
  3. “Finally, it is not known how many women in the study were aware they were pregnant at the time of vaccination.” How could this matter? Again, the CDC’s recommendation is for all pregnant women to be vaccinated. Whether or not they knew they were pregnant at the time of vaccination should be irrelevant, because, according to the CDC, being pregnant should not make a difference.

In other words, the CDC is so determined to stick with its immunization recommendations that it spins data from its own studies to support its case.

Most doctors currently recommend flu vaccines for pregnant women – coerce may be a more appropriate term – in spite of the fact that the package insert states clearly that “safety and effectiveness of Fluzone Quadrivalent have not been established in pregnant women or children less than 6 months of age.

Why are doctors so enthusiastic about flu vaccines in spite of this information? There are only two possible explanations for their behaviour:  #1) either they don’t know this because they don’t read the package inserts and research for themselves (this is bad), or #2) they have read and understand this information and recommend the shot anyway (this is worse). Both scenarios are scary and reinforce the need for consumers to be more aware.


Another fabulous article by Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., N.D.

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