By Dr. Trupti Shirole
Vaccination strengthens an individual’s immune system to help prevent morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. Vaccines can also prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Ideally, all women should have their immunization status up-to-date prior to conception. However this goal is difficult to accomplish taking into consideration that many pregnancies are unplanned.
Unless the potential risks outweigh the clear benefits, live vaccines should not be administered during pregnancy because there are theoretical concerns for fetal harm. But till date there is no evidence of teratogenic effect of any of the live vaccines- measles, mumps, rubella, varicella or polio. Similarly in the case of live-attenuated vaccines, the risk of insufficient control of replication of the vaccine strain is only theoretical which has not been proven yet.
Another concern regarding immunization in pregnancy is a mercury-containing compound (thimerosal), which is used as a preservative in vaccines. Studies have shown that the breakdown product of thimerosal- ethyl mercury does not accumulate and does not cause harm to the fetal brain like methyl mercury. Also there is no increase in neurodevelopmental disorders due to exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines. Now a days all vaccines, except the Japanese encephalitis vaccine have a thimerosal-free alternative. But unavailability of a thimerosal-free vaccine should not preclude administration of the vaccine.
However there is not a single vaccine, which is specifically approved by the FDA for use during pregnancy. This is primarily due to the absence of industry-sponsored trials in pregnant subjects. Therefore future vaccine trials must include pregnant women, especially when a particular vaccine is indicated during pregnancy.
Vaccination During Pregnancy: Read more….
[Note from SaneVax: Industry-sponsored trials on pregnant women? Are these people truly insane? The SaneVax Team cannot imagine any prospective mother in her right mind who would give informed consent to experiment on her and her unborn child.]