Flu Vaccine During Pregnancy: A Really Bad Idea
Influenza Vaccination During Pregnancy: A Critical Assessment of the Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
David M. Ayoub, M.D. and F. Edward Yazbak, M.D
Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 11:2, Summer 2006
Influenza vaccination during all trimesters of pregnancy is now universally recommended in the United States. We critically reviewed the influenza vaccination policy of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) and the citations that were used to support their recommendations.
The ACIP’s citations and the current literature indicate that influenza infection is rarely a threat to a normal pregnancy. There is no convincing evidence of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination during this critical period. No studies have adequately assessed the risk of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, and animal safety testing is lacking. Thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative present in most inactivated formulations of the vaccine, has been implicated in human neurodevelopment disorders, including autism, and a broad range of animal and experimental reproductive toxicities including teratogenicity, mutagenicity, and fetal death. Thimerosal is classified as a human teratogen.
The ACIP policy recommendation of routinely administering influenza vaccine during pregnancy is ill-advised and unsupported by current scientific literature, and it should be withdrawn. Use of thimerosal during pregnancy should be contraindicated.