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IDSA: H1N1 Vaccine Safe, Well Tolerated in Pregnant Women

Vaccine uptake in pregnant women substantially higher than in previous influenza seasons

FRIDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine appears to be safe in pregnant women, with vaccine uptake among pregnant women higher than in previous seasons, according to two studies presented during an influenza press conference at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, held from Oct. 21 to 24 in Vancouver, Canada.

Stephanie Irving, of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin, and colleagues evaluated pregnant women recruited over four months at two sites to assess short-term adverse events after H1N1 vaccination. Of 717 women, 33 percent received H1N1 vaccine, seasonal vaccine, or both, with 77 percent of these women receiving H1N1 vaccine only, 18 percent receiving both H1N1 and seasonal vaccine, and 5 percent receiving seasonal vaccine only. The researchers found that short-term adverse events were minimal, with pregnant women receiving the vaccine not substantially more likely than non-vaccinated women to report fever or most short-term adverse events.

In another study, Esther Wong, M.D., of the Christiana Care Health System in Newark, Del., and colleagues surveyed 303 postpartum women to evaluate vaccine uptake and reasons for lack of vaccination. The investigators found that 187 (61.7 percent) of postpartum women were vaccinated against H1N1 and 76 (25.1 percent) were offered the vaccine but refused vaccination.

"Uptake of H1N1 vaccine among pregnant women was substantially higher than that reported during previous influenza seasons, and was associated with education level, doctor recommendation, willingness to accept seasonal vaccine, and race," Wong and colleagues conclude. "To improve uptake, targeted education to providers as well as undervaccinated populations is needed to address misconceptions regarding the vaccine."

Abstract No. 871
Abstract No. 1346
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