FLU vaccine lower the risk of stillbirth

Emobileclinic Researcher’s corner

Emobileclinic Reporter: Dr. Tomi Orungbe

Mothers who received  shot of TIV during pregnancy were significantly less likely to experience still birth compared those who did not says a recent research published on Oxford journal. The lead researcher ;Annette K. Regan from School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Western Australia, Crawley says the risk of not having a still birth is 51% lower as observed in her cohort study.

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She defined still birth ” as birth ≥20 weeks’ gestation with an Apgar score of zero at 1 and 5 minutes following delivery”. ”Antenatal influenza vaccination is an important public health intervention for preventing serious infection in pregnant women and newborns, reported vaccine coverage is often <50%” , she says. The study is however the first to evaluate the incidence of stillbirth following seasonal trivalent influenza vaccine. Ironically concerns for the safety to the fetus is a commonly cited explanation for vaccine hesitancy and refusal in pregnancy . The incidence of stillbirth following vaccination has been previously reported in some studies and this is why Annette’s research is highly controversial. More researches will be needed to ascertain whose facts are right.

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 Their study looked critically at 58, 008 births which took place between April 2012 and December 2013. The researchers took cognizant of other factors such as maternal smoking, Indigenous status, and propensity before vaccination intake were used to calculate hazard ratios.
A total number of 5076 (8.8%) pregnant women received trivalent influenza vaccine and 377 stillbirths occurred. This was equal to 3 still birth in every 100,000 while the women who did not receive the vaccine had still birth increase to 5 in every 100,000. Most notably was that ”relative reduction in stillbirths was observed for births occurring just after influenza season”, they said.

 According to the researchers their results support the safety of seasonal influenza immunization during pregnancy and equally suggest a protective effect. The researchers were enthusiastic about this new revelation noting that “during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, we saw a similar reduction in stillbirths following vaccination. Our results are particularly exciting since they show we can get the same protection during seasonal epidemics, which occur every winter. Unfortunately, we know that about 40% of pregnant women go unvaccinated, missing out on these benefits,”.



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