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News Link • Vaccines and Vaccinations

Pregnant women to be vaccinated against flu for first time

• telegraph.co.uk

The H1N1 swine flu strain is expected to be the predominant strain of flu circulating this year as has happened in past pandemics and is contained in the seasonal jab for this winter.

Because pregnant women were disproportionately affected by H1N1 scientific advisers have recommended they be included in the groups routinely offered the seasonal flu jab this year.

In total around 15 million people are vaccinated in England and Wales against seasonal flu each winter at a cost of around £100m.

There were some concerns raised by pregnant women and midwives last year over the swine flu vaccine as some felt it had been rushed through and others were worried about its contents.

Pregnant women are usually advised not to be vaccinated and avoid medicines unless absolutely necessary.

Data gathered during last year's pandemic showed, however, that pregnant women were four times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the general population if they caught swine flu. Estimates based on British data also suggested that the mortality rate linked to swine flu was twice as high among pregnant women than the healthy general population.

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