A new study concludes that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women, even in the first trimester. The study consisted of nearly 9,000 pregnant women who received the vaccine. And the rate of birth defects was the same from women who got vaccinated and those who did not, Reuters reports.
Though doctors recommend that pregnant women receive a flu shot, because they are more likely than other women their age to get a severe case of the flu or have complications, most in the United States do not, according to Reuters. A mere 10% to 25% of women got vaccinated each flu season over the past couple decades, said Jeanne Sheffield, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. This means there's a market out there that flu vaccine makers are missing.
"The flu is a problem in pregnancy," Sheffield said. "But we have a vaccine to prevent it. And it's considered safe and effective in any trimester."
Earlier this month, the FDA approved 6 flu vaccines from companies licensed to distribute the products in the United States.