Posts Tagged ‘
flu shot ’
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
The era of seasonal flu vaccines may be coming to an end, if scientists succeed in their efforts to develop a lasting vaccine. From The New York Times:
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“In the history of vaccinology, it’s the only one we update year to year,” said Gary J. Nabel, the director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
That has been the case ever since the flu vaccine was introduced in the 1950s. But a flurry of recent studies on the virus has brought some hope for a change. Dr. Nabel and other flu experts foresee a time when seasonal flu shots are a thing of the past, replaced by long-lasting vaccines.
“That’s the goal: two shots when you’re young, and then boosters later in life. That’s where we’d like to go,” Dr. Nabel said. He predicted that scientists would reach that goal before long — “in our lifetime, for sure, unless you’re 90 years old,” he said.
Thursday, August 30th, 2012
New research adds to the evidence that flu shots are safe for pregnant women, finding that they do not increase the risk of birth defects, Reuters reports.
Scientists studied 9,000 pregnant women who received the flu shot and found that the rate of birth defects in their babies was 2 percent, identical to the rate among 77,000 pregnant women who were not vaccinated. The study was published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Interestingly, women who received a flu shot were less likely to suffer a stillbirth. It’s not clear why, but lead researcher Jeanne Sheffield of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center suspects the vaccine might help by preventing severe cases of flu.
Despite recommendations to get the flu shot, most pregnant women do not. In the U.S., only between 10 percent and one-quarter of women have been vaccinated each flu season over the last couple decades, Sheffield’s team notes.
Based on studies, that seems largely due to safety worries.
On the other hand, Sheffield said “it’s amazing” how many women are unaware that the flu itself is considered a risk during pregnancy.
“The flu is a problem in pregnancy,” she said. “But we have a vaccine to prevent it. And it’s considered safe and effective in any trimester.”
Image: Woman gets flu shot via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Receiving a flu shot during pregnancy may reduce the chances that a woman will give worth a baby with low birthweight, a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has found. US News and World Report explains the study:
The study included 340 pregnant women in Bangladesh who were divided into two groups — 170 who received the flu vaccine and 170 who received a different vaccine that does not protect against the flu. All of the women were in their third trimester.
When the seasonal influenza virus was circulating in the population, the flu vaccine group had fewer babies who were small for their gestational age than the other group — about 26 percent versus 45 percent.
The percentage of small-for-gestational-age births was similar in both groups when the influenza virus was dormant, according to the study published Feb. 21 in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
When the influenza virus was circulating, the mean birth weight was 7 pounds in the flu vaccine group and 6.6 pounds in the group that didn’t get flu shots, the investigators found.
“Our data suggest that the prevention of infection with seasonal influenza in pregnant women by vaccination can influence fetal growth,” Dr. Mark Steinhoff, of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues wrote in their report.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock.
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Friday, December 2nd, 2011
A majority of pregnant women and new mothers have either received flu shots this season or plan to get them, a new survey conducted by the text message-based education campaign Text4Baby has found. The survey collected information from 30,000 women who subscribe to the text message service. Almost 40 percent said they had already received shots this flu season, which officially began in October, and nearly 30 percent said they planned to receive shots.
Thirty-one percent of the respondents said they were not planning to get flu shots. Text4Baby said in a release, “Of the 9,859 who responded that there were not planning to get a flu shot, 22% indicated that they were concerned about the safety of the vaccine, 18.3% were concerned that the vaccine may actually give them the flu, 8% were concerned about the cost of the vaccine, and 14% didn’t think they needed the vaccine.”
More than half of the respondents said they wanted and appreciated reminder text messages on flu shots and other health topics, the service that Text4Baby provides.
The findings mirror similar studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that 49 percent of pregnant women received the flu vaccine in 2010.
Image: Flu shot, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, October 10th, 2011
A study published today in the journal Pediatrics reports that a single dose of the seasonal flu vaccine, which includes protection against the pandemic H1N1 strain, can significantly lower hospitalization rates for children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years.
Young children are typically given a two-dose vaccine against flu, because their immune systems can better metabolize two pediatric doses given 30 days apart.
But the study, conducted in Canada using hospitalization and vaccination records from the 2009 flu season, found that even one pediatric dose of vaccine was found to be 85 percent effective in preventing flu, as soon as 10-14 days after the dose was administered. Different ages were protected at different rates after the single dose, with 6-23-month-olds having the highest level of protection, 92 percent.
The World Health Organization has officially declared an end to the H1N1 pandemic, though the strain will continue to circulate for years to come. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge everyone over 6 months of age to receive a flu vaccine and follow good sanitary practices such as frequent hand-washing and covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
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