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Pregnant and flu vaccine

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Did anyone else go to www.wellbaby.org as mentioned in the letters section of this month's Mothering? There's a very interesting article about schizophrenia and autism and how they related to the immune system. The author has found evidence that an activated immune system (like when pg mom is exposed to the flu) affects brain development in fetus and makes schizophrenia and autism more likely. But the activated immune system is not only from being exposed to an illness, but also a vaccine, which is supposed to activate the immune system! Here's the link to the paper: http://pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/Ea.../patterson.pdfhttp://pr.caltech.edu/periodicals/Ea.../patterson.pdf

Aren't pregnant moms still counseled to get a flu vax? Yikes!

(This paper is a very interesting read for anyone who's interested.)
post #2 of 33
That is interesting...

ETA:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...65&postcount=8
post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by an article linked in that thread
the poly(I:C) result indicates that abnormalities in the offspring may be caused by the maternal anti-viral inflammatory response...
Quote:
Originally Posted by insider, in that thread
The maternal immune molecules that impair neural development of the fetus, will do so regardless of whether they were brought into existence by infection or vaccination.
Viral antigen alone is unlikely to trigger a vigorous inflammatory response; that typically involves active infection of cells, something which does not occur with inactivated vaccine. Live vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women, so insider's statement must be taken to refer to vaccination with inactivated vaccine, and is therefore difficult to justify, as it relies on the assumption that the causitive mechanism is maternal antibodies rather than maternal cytokines (the latter being the more strongly favored explanation).

Acute influenza infection is typically characterized by sharply increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, far beyond anything the vaccine could trigger (barring perhaps a severe allergic reaction). Pregnant women who are concerned about the results of these studies might decide that they want to avoid the vaccine, but it seems like what they'd really, really want to avoid is the flu.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by other articles linked to that are being ignored
“maternal viral infection has a profound effect on the behavior of adult offspring, probably via an effect of the maternal immune response on the fetus.” [J Neuroscience, Jan 1, 2003;23(1):297–302]

“Since influenza is believed to only rarely cross the placenta, an indirect effect on fetal brain development is the most plausible pathogenic mechanism linking it to an increased risk of schizophrenia. One such mechanism, previously considered, is that maternal IgG antibodies elicited by influenza traverse the placenta and crossreact with fetal brain antigens by molecular mimicry, thereby disturbing fetal brain development and increasing vulnerability to schizophrenia. Another potential immunologic mediator is an influenza-induced excess of maternal cytokines, which may damage the developing fetal brain.” [Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2004;61:774-780]
They don't know exactly how it works. Could be cytokines, could be IgG....

You'd have to be insane to recommend vaccinating every pregnant woman in the world with this based on what we know.
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
They don't know exactly how it works. Could be cytokines, could be IgG....

You'd have to be insane to recommend vaccinating every pregnant woman in the world with this based on what we know.
Yet every OBGYN does recommend it. Why?
post #6 of 33
I was trying to figure out why I find this whole concept so scary.

So, it is a bad idea to get flu while pregnant. Clear by the research. How to avoid getting flu while pregnant?

Avoid sick people. Don't shake hands. Don't kiss people unless you know they are healthy. Boost your immune system by eating healthy, taking appropriate supplements, getting adequate rest, etc. All low risk steps that will reduce risk without adding risk.

But having a flu shot while pregnant is high risk. The research on flu shots during pregnancy is scanty. They aren't actually approved as safe during pregnancy. They contain thimerosal (mercury) which pregnant women are advised to avoid ingesting as fish, so how could it be safe to have it injected? Plus, there is at least some chance that the flu shot could cause a reaction in the body which mimics what happens when you actually get flu. Before recommending an intervention scientists should know what the intervention will and will not do in the body, right?

High risk. Slight possibility of an advantage. Which would you choose? Seems like it is better to take the risk of doing nothing. Without a shot your chance of getting the flu while pregnant might go up slightly, but your mercury load and your baby's mercury load will not increase, you have no risk of side-effects from the flu shot, and you have no risk of the flu shot causing the same problems as getting the flu.

The only variable that a mother might be able to control would be to track down a shot that only contains "trace" amounts of thimerosal. The other risks of having the shot remain.
post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamakay View Post
They don't know exactly how it works. Could be cytokines, could be IgG....
If it's one of those two, then whichever one it is, actual infection can cause it for sure -- whereas vaccination can only cause it if it's IgG. It's widely accepted that there is an increased risk of complications from influenza among pregnant women (particularly during the second or third trimester), and that pregnant women are at greater risk of aquiring the illness to begin with (most likely due to fetal suppression of the maternal immune system).

I'd definitely recommend the precautions Deborah mentions. And those women worried about mercury should know that not all flu shots contain thimerosal; the one I got last October didn't. The trick is to look for the single-dose vials.
post #8 of 33
Dymanic wrote:
Quote:
If it's one of those two, then whichever one it is, actual infection can cause it for sure -- whereas vaccination can only cause it if it's IgG. It's widely accepted that there is an increased risk of complications from influenza among pregnant women (particularly during the second or third trimester), and that pregnant women are at greater risk of aquiring the illness to begin with (most likely due to fetal suppression of the maternal immune system).
Well, if you don't have the shot, you have slightly more chance of getting the flu. If you do get the shot you have 100% chance of being exposed to whatever negatives come with getting the shot.
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Well, if you don't have the shot, you have slightly more chance of getting the flu. If you do get the shot you have 100% chance of being exposed to whatever negatives come with getting the shot.
Right. It's always a tradeoff. If you wear a seat belt, you have a slightly increased risk of being trapped in a burning automobile...
post #10 of 33
I feel awful knowing this! Before I knew that I wasn't going to vax my son my dr recommended I get a flu shot so I did. I've been really worried about it now. I can just hope I didn't do any damage to him. I guess only time will tell. :
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
I feel awful knowing this! Before I knew that I wasn't going to vax my son my dr recommended I get a flu shot so I did. I've been really worried about it now. I can just hope I didn't do any damage to him. I guess only time will tell. :
Bitter feeling when someone you trusted to give you accurate information (remember informed consent) falls down on the job. How old is your son? How is he doing so far? Hopefully everything will be fine.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Bitter feeling when someone you trusted to give you accurate information (remember informed consent) falls down on the job. How old is your son? How is he doing so far? Hopefully everything will be fine.
Yes, it does make me feel very bitter about my dr. I mean, they hand out sheets telling you to limit tuna intake and stuff because of the mercury, but then they practically insist on the flu shot!

He's not even born yet. One more month to go! I just feel so incredibly guilty knowing it's my job to keep him safe, and he's not even born yet and already I allowed something to potentially hurt him! I mean, I wouldn't even eat tuna this entire pregnancy because of the mercury, but before I started looking into the vax's I got the flu shot. I'm hoping I haven't done any damage since I won't be allowing him to get any other vaccines once he's born. Thanks for the
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
I feel awful knowing this! Before I knew that I wasn't going to vax my son my dr recommended I get a flu shot so I did. I've been really worried about it now. I can just hope I didn't do any damage to him. I guess only time will tell. :

I had the flu shot two out of my four pregnancies. DS1 was born back before the shot was around, or at least being pushed I guess. Knowing what I know now, I declined this time around. But dd and ds2 are fine, mostly. I mean, I'll always wonder about every little thing and if its related to vax, but they dont have anything major, knock on wood. With mercury you have to watch for the culmutive effect so at least you now know you wont be adding anymore!
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Bitter feeling when someone you trusted to give you accurate information (remember informed consent) falls down on the job.
I think the problem is that many doctors don't have accurate info, they just don't know. Which is so wrong! They of all people should know this stuff . . . but if you don't know that the info you have is wrong, then you don't think to check it out, you don't think to look it up. Same goes for all the misinformation docs spout about breastfeeding. They just don't realize they're wrong, so they don't think to look it up.

So frustrating. The question is: how to we educate all the doctors out there?
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dymanic View Post
Viral antigen alone is unlikely to trigger a vigorous inflammatory response; that typically involves active infection of cells, something which does not occur with inactivated vaccine. Live vaccine is contraindicated for pregnant women, so insider's statement must be taken to refer to vaccination with inactivated vaccine, and is therefore difficult to justify, as it relies on the assumption that the causitive mechanism is maternal antibodies rather than maternal cytokines (the latter being the more strongly favored explanation).
Go figure, another misrepresentation from dymanic. At this point I've got to wonder whether you're doing it intentionally or if it just keeps manifesting from your ignorance. Hey, dude, if you can't grasp what I'm saying (and you clearly do not) then just ask.
post #16 of 33
Yeah, Dymanic, you dropped the ball again. It's unknown what exactly it is about the maternal immune response that damages the fetus. The whole point is that flu vaccine was pushed for a long time when nothing was known about how flu damaged the fetus -- the manufacturers had no idea if their product could or would do the same damage as flu infection. Your fundamental error is that you think the vaccine is safe until proven dangerous.

That seatbelt analogy, in its current form, is worthless. But let me help make it a bit more relevant -- The danger to the fetus from flu has something to do with the maternal immune response. We don't know what, all we know is that it's something. Getting a flu vaccine guarantees the occurrence of a maternal immune response. That should be a very simple thing to understand. Flu vaccination of pregnant women can only be compared to using a seatbelt if using a seatbelt guaranteed a car crash everytime.

But really, who needs such simplistic analogies for something so basic. Insider's post was very useful in showing how this information was discovered recently, after the flu vaccine was on the market to protect pregnant women. Right now the research says only for certain that maternal immune reactions cause fetal damage. If by some twist it's later discovered that maternal immune responses to wild-tye influenza, and not the vaccine, cause fetal damage -- then it will be purely the result of dumb luck. But that's currently unknown. So regarding potential damage to the fetus, the current research indicates that pregnant women should avoid flu vaccination.
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moya View Post
Getting a flu vaccine guarantees the occurrence of a maternal immune response.
A humoral response, however; not an inflammatory response -- whereas getting the flu guarantees both (to the extent that it's safe to use words like "guaranteed" in this context). Therefore, the flu is implicated if it's either one, but if it's not cytokines, it's not the vax -- and reading the cited literature, one gets the distinct impression that the IgG hypothesis was considered, and largely rejected in favor of the cytokine hypothesis.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dymanic View Post
Pregnant women who are concerned about the results of these studies might decide that they want to avoid the vaccine, but it seems like what they'd really, really want to avoid is the flu.
But the inactivated flu vaccines contain mercury- a PROVEN neurotoxin for fetuses. So you have a choice between the potential risk of flu infection and the KNOWN risk of mercury. 100% of pregnant women who receive the flu vaccine are exposed to mercury. What percentage of unvaccinated pregnant women become seriously ill with influenza? It's certainly not 100%!!
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dymanic View Post
I'd definitely recommend the precautions Deborah mentions. And those women worried about mercury should know that not all flu shots contain thimerosal; the one I got last October didn't. The trick is to look for the single-dose vials.
Did you get your flu shot from a vial? If so, it contained thimerosal. The thimerosal free vaccines are administered from single dose syringes. The vials are multi-dose.

Almost the entire influenza vaccine supply contains thimerosal. There were only about 9 million thimerosal free doses made this season and not all of it gets ordered. In fact, the CDC says that the demand for thimerosal free vaccine has always been low and never once has it sold out. Never. And why should it? The CDC refuses to state a preference for thimerosal free vaccines for pregnant women . . . therefore, thimerosal-containing influenza vaccine is "officially" safe for pregnant women and OB's order with confidence.

The demand is also low because it's more expensive and more of a hassle to store and maintain the single dose formulations.

Besides, I would imagine most women are in the "they took mercury out of vaccines, didn't they?" camp and wouldn't bother to question their OB/GYN on what formulation they carry.

Little do they know . . .
post #20 of 33
Wouldn't getting enough selenium pretty much assure a person from not getting the flu?

Sure a heck of a lot safer than the shot IMO
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