I’ve been receiving unsolicited emails from a neighbor telling me where I can get the flu vaccine. Last week when I went to Walgreen’s there were signs up all over the store urging me to get vaccinated. The excessive marketing of the flu vaccine can make it hard to know your own mind.
This is especially true for pregnant women. Up until recently pregnancy was a contraindication to the flu vaccine; now it is recommended for pregnant women. Generally when we are pregnant we want to refrain from ingesting drugs or receiving invasive procedures. The current flu recommendation can seem contradictory.
One of the contradictory things about the flu vaccine is that it must be created newly every year in anticipation of the upcoming flu season so it is, by nature, not that effective. The CDC says that the influenza vaccine is 60% effective for all age groups combined. The swine flu vaccine only has an overall efficacy of 40 to 45%. In addition, 80% of illnesses that appear to be flu are not, in fact, flu and of the 20% that are, most resolve on their own.
Another concern for pregnant women considering the flu vaccine are its additives. Flu vaccines still contain mercury in the form of the preservative thimerosal, which has been taken out of vaccines for children due to health concerns. In addition, flu vaccines can contain adjuvants, an additive that primes the immune system. Adjuvants have not been tested on pregnant women and many contain squalene (shark liver oil), implicated in autoimmune disease in animals and/or polysorbate 80, implicated in infertility in animal studies. In addition, flu vaccines are recommended for pregnant women after 14 weeks because of fear of possible miscarriage.
I’m old fashioned and want to inform pregnant woman. I asked Jennifer Margulis, who wrote The Vaccine Debate, to investigate flu vaccines for pregnant women. We’re featuring her hard hitting, exclusive article, What You’re Doctor Isn’t Telling You About the Pregnancy and the Flu Vaccine in a Vaccination Special Report that includes other articles and resources.
Some of you may have already gotten the flu vaccine; others may still be debating. As long as you are informed about your options, whatever decision you make will be right. I hope that you find our new article helpful in making your decision.
Tags: adjuvant, CDC, effectiveness, Flu vaccines, Informed Consent, Jennifer Margulis, miscarriage, polysorbate 80, Pregnancy and flu vaccine, shark liver oil, squalene, The Vaccine Debate, thimerosal, What You're Doctor Isn't Telling You About Pregnancy and the Flu Vaccine