The World Health Organization wants you to get the H1N1 vaccine. So does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most obstetricians want you to get it. But Dr. Jay Gordon, a noted pediatrician who is on the faculty at both UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, is encouraging everyone to slow down, take a deep breath, and think about this decision.
Even pregnant women.
Dr. Gordon and I talked today about his controversial position on the H1N1 Virus, the vaccine, and who he thinks should get it. We spoke specifically about the vaccine and pregnancy, but also about whether I (you) should get it, whether my child (your child) should get it, and — if not — what kind of risk are we facing?
…and I have spoken with a doctor working on one of them. Dr. Flor Munoz-Rivas is a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases. She tells us about how the vaccine is made, whether it contains a controversial mercury-containing preservative, and why the women involved in the trial will also be giving up some of their baby’s umbilical cord blood when it’s born.
Six percent of swine flu cases so far have been in pregnant women, even though they represent only about 1.6 percent of the adult population. One study estimates that pregnant women have been hospitalized with swine flu four times more often than the general population. Their risk of dying from swine flu is 13 times higher.
Those are some seriously sobering numbers, and make the shot worth strongly considering, to protect both you and your baby.
If you decide against getting the H1N1 vaccine, please listen to my interview with Baylor College of Medicine obstetrician Kjersti Aagard in my blog posting Some Moms-To-Be Fear Swine Flu Shot More Than The Flu. Toward the end of the interview she offers some tips on how to avoid the flu if you don’t get the vaccine.