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Are influenza vaccines safe for pregnant women?

Not only are influenza vaccines safe for pregnant women, it is highly recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot. If pregnant women get the flu they are at risk for more severe illness. 

The inactivated, injection form of influenza vaccine is safe for pregnant women. There are two main types of flu vaccine: The inactivated virus vaccine, delivered as an injection; and the attenuated virus vaccine, delivered as a nasal spray. Pregnant women should only receive the inactivated, injection form. The nasal spray vaccine is approved only for use in healthy people, 2 to 49 years of age, who are not pregnant.

Other things to consider before getting a flu vaccine: 

  • Women who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should not be immunized, whether or not they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Women who have a fever should wait until they're better before getting the vaccine.
  • Women who are allergic to eggs should talk to their healthcare provider before getting vaccinated. They may be able to receive an egg-free version of the vaccination.
  • Flu vaccines are available with and without thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury compound that has been used for more than 80 years to preserve vaccines. Numerous studies find no harmful effects from the preservative in children or adults. Still, some people worry about it, which is why manufacturers have now made a thimerosal-free vaccine available.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.