PROTECTING AGAINST A PANDEMIC
ANCHOR LEAD: GUIDELINES TO VACCINATE PREGNANT WOMEN AGAINST THE FLU SHOULD BE EXPANDED WORLDWIDE, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
The first study to examine the use of flu vaccine in pregnant women has underscored the need for immunization to take place worldwide. That’s according to Mark Steinhoff, study author at Johns Hopkins, who says worldwide adoption of such a policy could help stave off the impact of pandemic flu when it emerges.
STEINHOFF: Right now only the US and Canada recommend immunization of pregnant women. I think more countries will begin recommending this, and I think it provides very good information for the possibility of a pandemic. We know in the past that pandemics of influenza cause a fairly high toll among pregnant women, that is, among the women themselves, so the fact that we have the principle that using the regular vaccine protects both the mothers and the infants I think that should only encourage its use should a pandemic occur. :28
Steinhoff says any proven strategy to minimize the impact of flu would be especially important in a pandemic. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.