Some given priority for swine flu shot

July 29, 2009 8:42:13 PM PDT
The Centers for Disease Control is preparing to vaccinate the nation against the swine flu, but some will have priority over others.The CDC said it wants to protect millions of Americans, but they said pregnant women should be given priority when it comes to receiving a shot this fall.

Some mothers-to-be said they are worried about possible side effects of a new vaccine, but doctors countered the benefits outweigh any risk.

Expecting mother Ryan Pretlow said she'll get a swine flu shot if her doctor recommends it.

"This is my third pregnancy and I was advised by my doctor to get a flu shot with each pregnancy," Pretlow said.

This year doctors said pregnant women may be at higher risk from the swine flu virus. The CDC said nationwide 15 out of 256 swine flu deaths so far have been pregnant women.

Dr. Michael Jones said about 60 percent of his patients are pregnant women. He hasn't seen any flu cases so far this year, but he said he would treat each case as if it was swine flu.

"We are recommending that we treat each pregnant woman as if they had swine flu with Tamiflu," he said. "The virus doesn't cross over the placenta barriers so the baby doesn't get any direct affect from it but if the mother can't breathe or has respiratory distress that can cause difficulties with the baby."

Earlier this month a 38-year-old woman gave birth to a baby girl at Wilson Medical Center, but the mother later died at Wake Med. Tests confirmed the mother had the H1N1 virus.

Doctors say a pregnant woman's immune system is often weakened, which makes her susceptible to the virus.

Jarcimia Jefferson is six months pregnant and said she won't take any chances with her or her baby's heath. She said getting a swine flu shot would make her feel better.

"A whole lot safer, because swine flu is very bad, so I am happy they are doing it," she said.

Clinical trials for the swine flu virus should begin in August. Health officials said they hope to have 150 million doses available by October.


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