SAN DIEGO, CA Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center and UC San Diego, in collaboration with the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), have found 'reassuring' evidence of the H1N1 influenza vaccine's safety during pregnancy. The national study, which was launched shortly after the pandemic H1N1 influenza outbreak of 2009 and funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), will be summarized in two companion papers published online this month in the journal, Vaccine.
Despite federal health authorities' recommendations that all pregnant women be vaccinated for influenza in order to avoid serious complications of flu infection, it is estimated that fewer than 50 percent of women follow this advice, largely because they were concerned about the effects flu vaccines might have on the developing baby. Since it was anticipated that the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza outbreak could be particularly severe, it was important to gather data on the safety of this vaccine in pregnancy. Therefore, a national study was launched by the Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS), a collaboration between investigative teams at Boston University and UC San Diego, and coordinated by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
One investigative team, from Boston University, interviewed 4,191 mothers from four regional centers in the U.S. who had either delivered a baby with one of 41 specific birth defects or delivered an infant without defects. They compared the use of influenza vaccine in the two groups during the 2009 - 2011 seasons. In their analysis of birth defects, Dr. Carol Louik, ScD, lead investigator of the BU team, stated "We found no evidence of an increase in risk for the most commonly-occurring specific major birth defects, which were the focus of the study, if a woman received the flu
|Contact: Gina DiGravio|
Boston University Medical Center