Doctors urge pregnant women to take the H1N1 flu shot

    Officials advise against the H1N2 mist vaccine for pregnant women.

    Compared with other patients, pregnant women are more likely to suffer serious complications, be hospitalized or even die from the H1N1 virus, according to a CDC analysis of this spring’s swine flu outbreak. In Philadelphia, one of the eight H1N1 deaths was a woman who had recently given birth.

    Listen: [audio:090930tevaccine.mp3]

    The flu season is coming soon, and Dr. Thomas Bader is counseling his pregnant patients to protect themselves by getting the H1N1 flu shot. Bader leads the division of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Bader: So you have a situation where you have a theoretical risk where this vaccine might cause problems, versus a certainty that this vaccine is going to protect women and their newborn children from a disease that has killed women, so to me I don’t think that there’s a great deal of difficulty in making that calculation.

    Health officials say the seasonal flu shot and H1N1 vaccine are recommended for pregnant women this year. The H1N1 vaccine was developed both as a nasal mist and a shot, experts say the shot is the best choice for pregnant women.

    State health officials say the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine will arrive in Pennsylvania first.

    Dr. Neil Fishman leads infection control efforts at Penn Medicine.

    Fishman: There’s the injected vaccine that does not contain any live virus, and there’s the inhaled vaccine that contains an attenuated, or weak form of the virus. We are recommending that pregnant women only receive the injected vaccine that does not contain any live virus.

    The nasal mist is the only H1N1 vaccine being released across the country now, but state health officials expect the flu shot to arrive in mid-to-late October.

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