Another reason for pregnant women to get H1N1 vaccine

By Philippe Djegal - email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It turns out children born to women exposed to the 1918 Spanish Flu were at high risk for health issues, later in life.

"I mean, it makes me a little bit nervous just as a woman who is expecting," said Stephanie Taylor.

All the more reason Taylor is going to get the shot.

"The H1N1 vaccine is manufactured in the same way that the seasonal flu shot is," said Taylor. "It's not a new vaccine, it's made exactly the same. So, nope, hopefully I'll be first in line."

Taylor works in the health care industry. She has three young children, all of which are younger than 10 years old, which is the average age of catching the virus. And, she's 15 weeks pregnant. That makes her a high priority to get the H1N1 vaccine. The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed more than 50 million people worldwide.

"It was a horrible flu, and even the people who survived were incredibly ill," said Dr. Richard Wallace who is board certified in infectious disease.

But, he says that just because new research finds that unborn fetuses exposed to the Spanish Flu were more likely to develop heart disease, the same is not true for H1N1.

"At the time, we didn't know what a virus was," said Wallace. "There were no vaccines."

Dr. Wallace says it's important that pregnant women get the shot, especially those in early pregnancy.

"You can have very serious malformation defects, abnormalities, such as seen with congenital rubella," said Wallace. "So, it is a significant concern, the more developed the fetus, the more protected it is against getting some sort of illness."

The CDC says pregnant women shouldn't get the flu-mist because it's a live-virus. But, outside of an allergic reaction, if you're with child, get the shot.

The CDC says that infants who are not breastfeeding are more vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness then infants who are breastfeeding.

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