M.W. asks from Los Angeles, CA on October 20, 2009
H1N1 Vaccine for 27 Weeks Pregnant First Time Mom ???
I have already read all the threads about the vaccine on here but still feel torn with the decision. Actually my husband and I had done a lot of research in August and decided not to take the vaccine but now we are second guessing our decision. My OB just told me yesterday that professionally he has to recommend I take both flu shots this year but when I look on the list of the ingredients I get scared. It can't be good. I am from Germany and had to take some vaccines in 2007 in order to get my visa for America and I have reacted on the vaccinations with a weaker immune response that year and also a lot of soreness in my arm. So maybe my body reacts sensitively to these chemicals. On the other hand I will worry until my due date and beyond if I don't take the shots. Since they say the vaccines give the baby immunity as well. Of course I don't want to restrict my baby from that. I am already 36 years old and since they say that the virus attacks younger adults I might not be likely to get it? I do work with children and of course living a normal life, getting your groceries,...already gives you exposure enough.
Thanks for any insight. I really have a hard time finding what's right for me here.
3 moms found this helpful
C.K. answers from Los Angeles on October 22, 2009
My OB/Gyn's website state that people below the age of 2 and over 50, immunocompromised patients and any pregnant women should NOT get the H1N1. If I were you I would stick with the seasonal vaccine...we still don't know enough about side effects.
K.S. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
I am also pregnant and in your same position, and I too have done a fair amount of research on this issue on my own. Talk about a rock and a hard spot.
Because this is such a loaded issue, I didn't want to even comment at first, but when I saw someone's hysterical -- and highly innaccurate -- remark that 25% of pregnant women who get the H1N1 flu die, I felt it was important to comment and to try to post as much accurate information as I could.
According to a recent Lancet study, the estimated admission [to the hospital] for pregnant women is 0.32 per 100,000 pregnant women, which is four times higher than the general population. As of June 16th, of the 46 deaths from H1N1, six (13%) were pregnant women. Of the six, three (half) of these pregnant woman had pre-existing conditions (asthma and psoriasis, morbid obesity, and Factor V Leiden Deficiency, respectively), and three seemed completely healthy.
Additionally, the rate of hospitalization is about twice as high for H1N1 than for the seasonal flu for pregnant women.
The problem is that flu shots in general are considered by the FDA to be Class C drugs. Basically what this means is that there are no studies on the long term effects of these shots on both the pregnant mothers or the children who were fetuses in-utero at the time their mother received the shot, so we do not truly know that these shots do not harm fetal development.
FYI, even "preservative-free" vaccines -- which is the ONLY kind you should even be considering if you decide to get any flu shot while pregnant -- still have trace amounts of thimerosol in them.
From the FDA Website:
Does the influenza vaccine contain thimerosal?
Yes, the majority of influenza vaccines distributed in the United States currently contain thimerosal as a preservative. However, some contain only trace amounts of thimerosal and are considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be preservative-free. Manufacturers of preservative-free flu vaccine use thimerosal early in the manufacturing process. The thimerosal gets diluted as the vaccine goes through the steps in processing. By the end of the manufacturing process there is not enough thimerosal left in the vaccine to act as a preservative and the vaccine is labeled "preservative-free".
It a trace amount of thimerosol given to you in a "preservative-free" vaccine going to harm your baby's development? Again, we don't because there have been no long term studies. However, there are definitely parents and pediatricians out there who point to thimerosol exposure as being linked to rising autism rates. Further, the "Age of Autism" site cites a 2005 study funded by the NIH found that ethyl-mercury used in vaccines crosses into the brain of infant primates, resulting in appreciable levels of mercury being trapped in the brain.
But what does all of this mean for pregnant human women? Because we do know that statistically, the flu hits pregnant women harder. What is the threshold for safe levels of thimerosol -- or is there a safe level at all? We simply do not know.
As of 2007, CDC reports a 1:150 rate of autism in children; recent numbers have shown that to be even higher. I think one of the best things to come from H1N1 is that, 3-5 years from now, we should have enough data to know what is the best thing, but for now, we are operating with a lot of unknowns.
On one side, you have the risk of very serious, and sometimes deadly complications from H1N1, and those risks increase for pregnant women -- even though, it should be stressed, many and most people who get it have a MILD form of the flu, including pregnant women.
In July 2009, the CDC noted that most [H1N1] infections were mild, similar to seasonal flu, recovery tended to be fairly quick, and deaths to date had been only a fraction of the number of people who die every year from seasonal flu. The 1918 flu epidemic began with a wave of mild cases in the spring, followed by more deadly waves in the autumn, eventually killing hundreds of thousands in the United States. Researchers from the University of Maryland mixed swine flu and seasonal flu and concluded that the swine flu was unlikely to get more lethal.
On the other side, there is the spectre of autism....
Also, lastly, despite these concerns, the CDC has recommended for the last three years that all pregnant women get the flu shot. Similarly, if a pregnant woman gets H1N1, the recommendation is to start anti-viral medications immediately, despite the fact that these are also Class C Drugs, because risk-wise, this seems less dangerous. See the excerpt below:
Pregnant women are known to be at higher risk for complications from infection with seasonal influenza viruses, and severe disease among pregnant women was reported during past pandemics. Hospitalizations and deaths have been reported among pregnant women with 2009 H1N1 influenza virus infection, and one study estimated that the risk for hospitalization for 2009 H1N1 influenza was four times higher for pregnant women than for the general population. While oseltamivir and zanamivir are "Pregnancy Category C" medications, indicating that no clinical studies have been conducted to assess the safety of these medications for pregnant women, the available risk-benefit data indicate pregnant women with suspected or confirmed influenza should receive prompt antiviral therapy. Pregnancy should not be considered a contraindication to oseltamivir or zanamivir use. Because of its systemic activity, oseltamivir is preferred for treatment of pregnant women. The drug of choice for chemoprophylaxis is less clear. Zanamivir may be preferable because of its limited systemic absorption; however, respiratory complications that may be associated with zanamivir because of its inhaled route of administration need to be considered, especially in women at risk for respiratory problems.
Anecdotal reports suggest that postpartum women, similar to pregnant women, might be at increased risk for severe complications and death from 2009 H1N1 influenza. These reports are consistent with the postpartum period being a time of transition to normal immune, cardiac, and respiratory function, a transition that is believed to occur quickly, but would be unlikely to occur immediately at delivery. Based on these reports, women should be considered to be at increased risk of influenza-related complications up to 2 weeks postpartum (including following pregnancy loss). Prompt empiric antiviral treatment is indicated for suspected or confirmed 2009 H1N1 influenza in women who are up to 2 weeks postpartum (including following pregnancy loss).
Personally, as of this time, because I do not have any other underlying issues aside from simply being pregnant (ie gestational diabetes, obesity, asthma, etc.) I am not going to get either the H1N1 shot or the seasonal flu shot; however I recognize that decision carries with it certain risks. Also, next time, before I am pregnant, I am going to get the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, as many people who are hospitalized/die from the flu actually die from secondary infections, most commonly respitory pneumonia. For now, I am going to take a lot of preventative measures (including 30 min of mild/moderate exercise daily, enough rest, healthy food, minimize stress, gargle with Listerine 2x/day, use a sinus rinse at least 1x/day, avoid crowds and sick people, take Sambuca extract daily, wash my hands often, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching my nose and mouth, etc.). I will also be in close contact with my OBGYN, and, if I show any H1N1 flu symptoms, get treatment immediately. I wish I had a crystal ball and could know the best way to go; for me, the potential of exposing my baby to potential autism triggers emotionally outweights my concerns about H1N1, but only time will tell whether or not that is the correct decision.
Whatever your decision is, I wish you the very best, a healthy and happy pregnancy, and a healthy and happy child.
Good luck to you.
M.B. answers from Los Angeles on October 20, 2009
i am weighing my options too. only 8 wx preg here so cannot even get until second trimester. i think we mamas are all struggling here. its scarey times!
K.Y. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
Trust your instincts and your body. It seems your body's reaction to the other vaccinations you have had are a signal of your body's sensitivities.
K.G. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
Hi, I'm 23 weeks and also torn about getting the vaccine. I already have 2 small chidlren at home and I will get it just based on that fact. Furthermore, When I was pregnant with my son, I got a cold which turned into bronchitis. The doctor who treated me said that in pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, the uterus restricts your ability to breath and cough up the phlegm that you would normally have no problem expelling. This can lead to infections which can cause bronchitis and pneumonia. This is another reason why I will likely get the shot.
C.L. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
Hi- I was just wanting to address the part where you asked about passing on immunity to your unborn child- this is actually unknown, as far as I know (you may have more credible evidence that I do)- because there haven't been any controlled experiments on pregnant women (not ethical). So if that is one of the main reasons you would get vaccinated, I would want to make sure you have strong evidence that it's true (and I would love you to share it with me, too! =) )
You might consider your response to the regular flu vaccine since they are supposed to be similar.
If you don't end up getting the vaccine, you may still be able to reduce your risk by staying away from closed places and large crowds during flu season, and of course washing your hands all the time (the virus stays alive on inanimate objects for a few hours) and having your family members get vaccinated (if that is comfortable for you).
I agree that this is a very tough decision. Best wishes.
N.R. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
I'm not pregnant, but I woundn't do it. Absolutely no way. I wouldn't give it to my 2-year old, so I certainly wouldn't give it to my unborn child.
The amount of hysteria stirred up on this site is unbelievable. It's the flu. Same flu, different time of year. The US media is doing it's best to scare everyone. Take the normal precautions to keep yourself healthy.
As an aside...if you prefer a holistic, natural approach, have you considered a midwife instead of an OB? I would be willing to bet that most midwives would not be pushing this vaccine on their patients! Just a thought. Best of luck to you!
S.D. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
From what I've read, there have never been tests done for safety for pregnant women or a fetus for these shots? Nor do they know how effective they will even be. The H1N1 shot has even less safety tests done then the regular flu shot...it's safety is assumed. The risk of dying from the flu is very low if you look at the raw data. Getting a shot bypasses the bodies natural defenses and will pass to your baby. There's been some information about the use of squalene in these shots as well which has not been approved until this 'fast-track" testing.
Washington DC – October 9, 2009: Despite the FDA’s intention to begin delivery this week of the n ovel “Swine Flu” 2009-H1N1-A live virus nasal mist vaccine to 90,000 government-approved locations nationwide, six New Yorkers and several NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs) filed for an Emergency Injunction in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent the distribution of what they believe are illegal, unnecessary and dangerous vaccines.
The case of Null, Laibow et al. v FDA et al. [Docket No. 1:09-cv-01924]challenges the legality of the September 15th licensing of four vaccines prior to any safety testing for what the government calls a “novel flu virus with pandemic potential.” The complaint alleges that the government failed to follow its own rules and applicable legislation in rushing the vaccine approvals in the absence of any of the requisite minimum scientifically sound and appropriate testing for both safety and effectiveness as required by law since 1964.
Link to Complaint:http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?page_id=3619
Link to Brief: http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?page_id=3624
Link to Action eAlert: http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=3635
Link to “I’m Not a Pharma Serf” Action Item: http://bit.ly/4FxB4r
The New Yorkers are all health care workers who are therefore subject to that State’s new legal mandate (promulgated August 13, 2009) requiring that nearly all of the State’s half million health care workers receive all Federally recommended flu vaccines or lose their jobs. This requirement puts the health care workers in significant jeopardy since these newly approved vaccines have never been tested for either safety or efficacy and may carry major risks.
The lawsuit, announced at a demonstration by the health care workers last week at the State Capitol in Albany on September 29, 2009, is expected to be just one of the suits filed challenging various government “emergency” actions for a flu that has proven (during the just concluded Southern Hemisphere flu season) to be neither pandemic nor virulent despite dire predictions to the contrary and despite a Health Emergency declared by the CDC on April 25, 2009, 11 days after the first alleged death from Swine Flu on April 14, 2009 and a Level 6 Pandemic declaration by the World Health Organization followed on June 11, 2009 (which was only possible since W.H.O. downgraded the definition of a “Level 6 Pandemic”).
The Plaintiffs include health care professionals such as Dr. Gary Null, PhD, a well-known New York nutritionist, Rima E. Laibow, MD, a New York licensed physician who is Medical Director and a Trustee of the Natural Solutions Foundation, Dr. Tedd Koren DC, head of Foundation for Health Choice and four other health care workers covered by the mandate, including a Registered Nurse who has had prior adverse reactions to flu vaccines; a pregnant Nurse’s Aide, a health care student who has been told that she cannot see the patients whom she must see in order to finish her training, and a woman who works in the billing department of a hospital. All have been denied exemptions and told they will lose their positions under the new mandate if they are not vaccinated with all flu vaccines, including the new “Swine Flu” vaccine.
The Complaint alleges that the FDA erred in determining that safety testing was not needed because the 2009-H1N1-A vaccines are a mere “change of strain” not requiring safety testing. The Plaintiffs claim there is no significant scientific agreement that supports the government’s actions. The experts presented by the Plaintiffs include Sarah Schon MD, a Board Certified Immunologist and Paul G. King PhD, a noted analytical chemist with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Plaintiffs further allege that the Live Attenuated Influenza Virus (LAIV) nasal mist vaccine could trigger the very pandemic the government claims people should fear, calling the decision to allow a LAIV vaccine using a WHO and CDC declared “novel pandemic virus” an “arbitrary and capricious decision without any basis in the scientific record.”
Citing HHS Secretary Sebelius’s September 15th testimony before a Congressional committee when she announced the vaccine licensing, that even the FDA’s own scientists would not “sign-off” on the use of the most toxic vaccine ingredients (known as “oil in water adjuvants”) the Plaintiffs allege the government has a plan to nonetheless approve these substances, never before approved for drug use in the United States, under an “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) permitted by the 2005 Project Bioshield Act. On July 13, 2009, according to a press release on the www.HHS.gov web site, the government purchased nearly a half billion dollar’s worth ($485 Million USD) of the deadly adjuvnt squalene, an oil in water adjuvant, blamed by many nongovernmental physicians as a “Gulf War Syndrome” causative agent in more than 25% of the soldiers who were subjected to an experimental anthrax vaccine, Vaccine A, containing squalene. Vaccine A was later authorized under an EUA propmpting a Court ruling that makes its use legal only in voluntary situations. The government’s stockpile is enough squalene to “stretch” the 167 million doses of “Swine Flu” vaccine the government has purchased to cover the entire American population since the purpose of an adjuvant is to increase immune response to the injected material. The FDA web site indicates that the adjuvanted vaccines will be provided under an EUA which will allow the agency to skirt “Good Manufacturing Practices” and any issue of whether squalene is too dangerous to be permitted.
Secretary Sebelius further testified before Congress that a single company will be contracted by the government to deliver the vaccines to 90,000 locations around the country. The FDA site further indicates that the squalene will be mixed with the approved vaccines at those sites before administering the shots, without regard to normal pharmaceutical manufacturing requirements. The Plaintiffs claim that this will result in dangerously adulterated vaccines that may cause much more injury than the infamous 1976 “Swine Flu” vaccine program that killed hundreds and maimed thousands before it was stopped just ten weeks after it began, with nearly fifty million Americans having received that deadly shot or the dangerous squalene-adjuvanted Vaccine A which caused so many cataclysmic illnesses and deaths in Gulf War I military personnel. These shots, too, were both unnecessary and untested.
In their submitted Complaint, Brief and Certifications the Plaintiffs remind the Court that as early as 1905, even before the Federal authorities had the legal power to license vaccines, the Supreme Court stated, in Jacobson v Massachusetts (197 U.S. 11),
“We are not to be understood as holding … that the judiciary would not be competent to interfere and protect the health and life of the individual … ‘All laws,’ this court has said, ’should receive a sensible construction. General terms should be so limited in their application as not to lead to injustice, oppression or absurd consequence.’ …”
The lead attorney for the Plaintiffs, Leslie Fourton JD, of New York, is working with the respected Washington regulatory law firm of Swankin and Turner and a team of legal experts from around the country, including Larry Becraft JD, Alabama, Alan G. Phillips JD, North Carolina, and Ralph Fucetola JD, New Jersey.
Counsel Fourton stated,
“Without taking into account serious objections raised by many scientists, FDA approved four “Swine Flu” 2009-H1N1-A Vaccines without enough concern about any definitive safety testing and the quality thereof. The Secretary of Health and Human Services testified before Congress, announcing the approvals and a program to widely distribute the Vaccines which were purchased by the federal government. The administrative record appears to be defective in that the record as posted on the Agency web site does not include, for all the approved Vaccines, a drug package insert or label with an accurate list of ingredients. We don’t know what was approved or how dangerous it may be. The Plaintiffs seek immediate relief.”
Please do your research and don't risk your baby's health...you will never forgive yourself!
C.Z. answers from Los Angeles on October 21, 2009
I agree - it's scary. I'm more petrified b/c I am pregnant - we are a high risk group. I'm going to get it. They have mercury free ones for pregnant/breastfeeding women. The medical community says this is standard stuff - made the same way as the regular flu. True, it's brand new and we don't have long term effect research. What we do have are stats of the pregnant women that have become effected w/ H1N1. Out of 100 infected something like 23-30 were in the hospital/died. That's 25%! I'm more scared of getting it and ending up in the hospital and/or dying then some weird long term effect on the unborn baby.
I know it's tough and I don't blame you for going either way. Just note that I think they are available now and the mercury free ones go super quick so don't wait too long to decide!