Pregnant women need first H1N1 shots

October 13, 2009 3:01:37 PM PDT
As some of the first H1N1 vaccinations become available to pediatric patients in Houston, medical officials said that pregnant women should get ready to get inoculated. [SWINE FLU: Symptoms, questions and answers and more]
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[TRAVEL ALERT: What the CDC wants you to know ]

Shot shipments started Sunday, and as of Monday, there were 9.8 million doses of the swine flu vaccine available.

"I'm happy to say about half of the vaccine available for order is in the injectable form," CDC Dr. Anne Schuchat said. "It will be coming out to states relatively soon."

Federal officials are again reminding people to be patient.

The CDC said it knows most people who want the vaccine are still having trouble finding a provider who has it, but they said much larger numbers of doses will be available soon.

The arrival of the injectable vaccine means millions more people will be able to be protected, and area physicians think that pregnant women should be the first in line.

According to the CDC, 28 expectant mothers have died from the H1N1 flu as of the end of August, and they said the numbers could rise.

"(In) the world, only 1 percent of the cases of H1N1 are occurring in pregnant women," Dr. Keith Reeves, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Methodist Hospital, said. "The sad statistic is that 6 percent of deaths from H1N1 are occurring in pregnant women."

Reeves adds that since the H1N1 strain are particularly virulent, it can be deadly.

"And for reasons we don't fully understand, this strain is being really tough on pregnant women," he said. "And they absolutely need to be vaccinated so that they can survive this."

If women want both the regular flu vaccine and the H1N1 injection, Reeves said that it is perfectly acceptable to get both shots at the same time.

"(An) infant will receive some passive immunity from the mother if the mother is vaccinated while she is pregnant with the child," Reeves added. "It's a good thing to do for the benefit of the baby, as well."

But he recommends that pregnant women get the injectable version of the vaccination.

As adult Houstonians wait for their vaccinations, some qualified pediatric patients will receive a few of the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine Tuesday. Texas Children's Pediatric Associates will distribute these vaccines starting at 4:30pm.

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