Immunization advised for pregnant women

November 1, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice recommend that all women who are pregnant between October and May receive inactive influenza vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Obstetric Practice recommend that all women who are pregnant between October and May receive inactivated influenza vaccine.

In a published statement, ACOG advises that preventing the flu during pregnancy is essential to prenatal care. Immune system changes during pregnancy place pregnant women at increased risk for serious complications of influenza. In addition to protecting pregnant women, maternal vaccination provides protection for newborns who cannot be vaccinated until they reach 6 months of age.

Vaccination early in flu season is optimal, but the vaccine can be given anytime, regardless of trimester. ACOG advises the use of the inactivated flu vaccine; the live attenuated version of the flu vaccine-the nasal mist-is contraindicated during pregnancy. No studies to date demonstrate any adverse consequence of the inactivated version for pregnant women or their offspring. The statement notes that there is no scientific evidence that thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines, causes harm to pregnant women or their infants.