Immunisation against influenza during pregnancy

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3091 (Published 02 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3091
  1. Marian Knight, NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) research professor in public health 1,
  2. Boon Lim, consultant obstetrician2
  1. 1National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7LF, UK
  2. 2Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania, Australia
  1. marian.knight{at}npeu.ox.ac.uk

The benefits outweigh the risks

Since the A/H1N1 2009 influenza pandemic, universal immunisation of pregnant women against seasonal flu has been recommended in many areas of the world.1 2 3 Despite experience with immunisation against seasonal flu in pregnancy over many years, uptake of influenza vaccine in pregnancy during the 2009 A/H1N1 2009 pandemic was low and immunisation rates among pregnant women generally remain low.4 5 One commonly cited reason for this is concern among women and clinical staff about the safety of the vaccine during pregnancy.6

In a linked research paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.e2794), Pasternak and colleagues present findings from an important new Danish national cohort study of women vaccinated against influenza A/H1N1 2009.7 The study suggests that women who are immunised in pregnancy have a lower risk of fetal loss than non-immunised women. The study provides reassuring information for people who are worried about the safety of the vaccine and evidence of the benefits of vaccination, which were previously only hypothesised. This is particularly important because the influenza vaccination season has just started in the southern hemisphere, where the A/California/7/2009 strain is included in the current vaccine. After a World …

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