By Muris Houston, The Irish Times
19 January 2011
IN A SIGNIFICANT change to national influenza vaccine policy, family doctors have been asked to recall pregnant women who have been given the swine flu vaccine so that they can also be immunised with the seasonal flu vaccine.
Following a meeting of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) on Monday, Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director of population health at the Health Service Executive, wrote to GPs yesterday advising them of the policy change which applies to all pregnant women and those who have given birth within the last six weeks.
He advised doctors the change was necessary because of the number of influenza B cases seen in recent weeks as “there is evidence that influenza B can cause significant morbidity for pregnant women”. The latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre show almost 20 per cent of confirmed flu cases are due to the influenza B virus.