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Conflicting advice offered to pregnant women on H1N1 vaccine

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Maria Babbage
The Canadian Press
Saturday, Oct 17th, 2009

TORONTO – Pregnant women are getting mixed messages from federal and provincial health officials about what they should do to protect themselves from the swine flu.

The conflicting advice emerged Friday as officials revealed that the pandemic vaccine intended for pregnant women won’t be available when the regular vaccine arrives in early November.

Federal health officials are now advising pregnant women to take the adjuvanted pandemic vaccine that will be available first if they’re concerned that they could become infected with the H1N1 virus.

“If you’re in the midst of a pandemic, if you do become ill, clearly the risks to yourself and your fetus are tremendous and the vaccine can protect you against this,” national public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said in Vancouver.

“At the end of the day, if you’re in the middle of the pandemic, whatever vaccine is available, I would take it to protect myself and my fetus.”

But Ontario’s chief medical officer of health maintains that pregnant women should wait and take the vaccine that doesn’t contain adjuvant – an additive that boosts the impact of a vaccine – given the concerns about its safety.

“We are recommending that pregnant women receive the unadjuvanted vaccine and we would expect that that vaccine will be available around the week of Nov. 7, and that’s what we’ve been told by the federal government,” said Dr. Arlene King.

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This article was posted: Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 4:39 am

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