Expectant Mums Urged to Get H1N1 Vaccine as Soon as Possible

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 19 2009 5:16 PM

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has advised pregnant women to get immunized as soon as the H1N1 vaccine becomes available, as it has been observed that expectant mothers inflicted with the virus have been dying at a rate six times higher than the general population.

Dr. Gerson Weiss, professor and chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School insists: "All pregnant women should be vaccinated.

"Pregnant women are immunocompromised, in a sense, because they have to have in themselves the ability not to reject the baby. So that's a window that the virus clearly is taking advantage of."

Also, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named expectant mothers among those at "high risk" for serious complications from the novel H1N1 influenza A virus.

Patients can experience serious complications including early labor and severe pneumonia or the illness may prove fatal, the CDC warns.

Weiss says: "This is a very serious potential problem. The CDC anticipates that the death rate can be as high as 10 percent among pregnant women who get H1N1.

"The vaccine will not be 100 percent protective, but it will certainly, for many people, mean the difference between life and death."

"This vaccine is not a drug in that it does not treat, nor does it contain a live virus.

"It stimulates the immune system to protect the individual so that if the real virus comes on it can fight it. And, if mom is nursing, the H1N1 vaccine may protect her and her infant.

"The best way to decrease the power of an epidemic is to have enough people immune so that the disease is not transmitted from person to person to person."