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Flu Vaccine

H1N1 and influenza viruses - Why pregnant women might be hesitant to be vaccinated

Kamelia Mirdamadi and Adrienne Einarson, RN

September 2011

ABSTRACT

QUESTION

I have been encouraging pregnant women to receive both the H1N1 and influenza vaccines since I became aware of Health Canada's guidelines. However, some of the women in my practice have heard conflicting information, often from media sources, and they are hesitant to be vaccinated. What is the evidence behind these guidelines, and should I really be convincing these women to be vaccinated?

ANSWER

Pregnant women and growing fetuses are considered a population vulnerable to H1N1 and influenza viruses. Health Canada published a report in late 2010 estimating that this population was at increased risk of hospitalization and severe outcomes of H1N1 infection. Recommendations included pregnant women as a priority group to receive the H1N1 vaccine as well as the influenza vaccine. This information should be explained unambiguously to pregnant women, and they should be made aware of the sensationalism of media reports, which are often based on opinion and not evidence.

QUESTION

J'encourage les femmes enceintes à se faire vacciner à la fois contre le H1N1 et contre la grippe depuis que j'ai pris connaissance des lignes directrices de Santé Canada. Par ailleurs, certaines de mes patientes ont entendu parler de recommandations contraires, souvent dans les médias, et hésitent à recevoir le vaccin. Quelles sont les données probantes sur lesquelles reposent ces lignes directrices et faudrait-il vraiment que je convainque ces femmes de se faire vacciner?

RÉPONSE

Les femmes enceintes et les fœtus en développement sont considérés comme une population vulnérable aux virus H1N1 et de la grippe. Santé Canada a publié un rapport à la fin de 2010 dans lequel on estime que cette population est à risque accru d'une hospitalisation et de complications graves dues à une infection au H1N1. Selon les recommandations, les femmes enceintes font partie des groupes prioritaires pour recevoir le vaccin contre le H1N1 et celui contre la grippe. Ces renseignements devraient être expliqués sans ambiguïté aux femmes enceintes, et on devrait les renseigner sur le sensationnalisme des articles souvent fondés davantage sur des opinions que sur des données probantes.

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