[Mercury containing flu vaccine. Sums up the JCVI--anything for profit and pain. "Exposure to mercury in utero and in children may cause mild to severe mental retardation and mild to severe motor coordination impairment."  Eli Lilly Material Data Safety Sheet for Thimerosal See the article mentioning the study done in Bangladesh (1). See: Foreign viruses.]
Pregnant women may be offered the flu jab
Last updated at 8:13 AM on 25th September 2008
Pregnant women look likely to be offered the flu jab from next year to help protect their unborn babies.
Advisers say expectant mothers are at increased risk of illness and death from seasonal flu, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation originally recommended that mothers-to-be be given the jab two years ago.
Mothers-to-be could get the flu vaccine in order to to protect both themselves and their babies
However, ministers were concerned the programme would be too expensive. They asked the JCVI to review whether the move would be value for money but fresh evidence has now emerged which the committee believes would make an immunisation scheme cost effective.
Dr Douglas Fleming, from the committee's influenza group, told GP newspaper it was 'very likely' pregnant women would be vaccinated from next year.
Research from the U.S., published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week, found that vaccinating mothers could offer protection to newborns.
Rates of influenza among infants born to mothers who were given a flu jab were reduced by 63 per cent, the study found.
The number of fever-linked respiratory illnesses fell by 29 per cent in vaccinated infants and 36 per cent in vaccinated mothers.
Scientists in the U.S. randomly assigned 340 mothers-to-be either to receive the flu jab Fluarix or the pneumonia vaccine Pneumovax in the last three months of pregnancy and then followed their progress.
Professor Mark Steinhoff, from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, who led the research, said said: 'Even though there is no flu vaccine for these children, our study shows a newborn's risk of infection can be greatly reduced by vaccinating mom during pregnancy. It's a two-for-one benefit.'
Currently, the Government's vaccination programme recommends flu jabs for patients aged 65 and over and those in at-risk groups with diabetes, respiratory conditions and chronic heart disease.
However, campaigners were last night concerned the jab could put unborn babies at risk.
Jackie Fletcher of anti-vaccination pressure group Jabs said: 'Flu vaccines contain mercury derivatives, and why would a developing foetus want anything to do with that?'
A Health Department spokesman said: 'Influenza vaccine is currently recommended for pregnant women who are in one of the clinical risk groups recommended flu vaccine.'