What about Vaccines?
Cold and flu season is once again upon us and some of the most frequent questions that we hear during the fall and winter months among our female infertility patients are “Should I get a flu shot?” and “Is the flu shot safe?” and “What about other immunizations?”
It would be best, of course, if all immunizations were completed prior to fertility care to protect against potentially serious infections, to avoid transmission to the baby during pregnancy, and to provide passive immunity to the newborn. Although most vaccines are safe, even during pregnancy, many physicians are reluctant to immunize patients due to unrelated but possible, coincidental events such as miscarriage or birth defects. Those vaccines which should not be given during pregnancy are measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), chicken pox (varicella), and herpes zoster. All others are recommended, especially if other risk factors exist.
The following immunizations are recommended of women of reproductive age: Influenza, Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap), Varicella, Human papilloma virus (HPV), MMR, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B. For complete guidelines please see the Centers for Disease Control web site: (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/adult/adult-combined-schedule.pdf)
It is important to know one’s immunization history, and especially one’s Rubella and varicella status, before becoming pregnant.
In short, the answers to the above queries are:
“Yes, please do get a flu shot.”
“Yes, the flu shot is safe.”
“Ideally, all immunizations should be current prior to becoming pregnant.”