It’s flu season again, and as much as I hate to say it, many people aren’t immune to the seasonal virus. Even I used to get the flu every year when I was younger. About four years ago, I asked my doctor to give me the flu shot so that I could avoid the dreaded chills, body aches, and fevers. I was upset, because he rejected my request, stating that it was not as effective as I believed it to be. This surprised me, but I listened. I now realize he was onto something. After that, I noticed that my coworkers who got the shot ended up getting the flu regardless...and I didn't.
Now, I have other concerns about the flu shot besides its efficacy – I worry about the possible risks associated with it. One published article showed an unsettling connection between the shot and miscarriages – and it was a study funded by none other than the CDC.
The Study Pregnant Women Should Be Aware Of
A case-control study looked at 485 women who experienced a miscarriage and were compared to those who had delivered live or stillbirths. Researchers wanted to find out if miscarriages had a higher chance of occurring after a flu shot. The results did not show any significance in women who had not received a jab the year before. However, women who did get the jab consecutively were 7.7 times more likely to miscarry. The researchers acknowledged their findings and wrote, “The association was significant only among women vaccinated in the previous influenza season with pH1N1-containing vaccine.” Unsurprisingly, they added the study can’t “establish a causal relationship between repeated influenza vaccination” and miscarriages but that “further research is warranted.”
Today, the CDC claims the flu shot does not cause miscarriages. But it's important to note that one of the ingredients in the flu shot – thimerosal – has been found to cause complications in some children. In 2001, the FDA tried to prevent pediatric and adult neurotoxicity by limiting the use of thimerosal. Since then, the ingredient has been taken out of children’s vaccines. In the FDA's Pediatrics review, researchers noted, “similar toxicological profiles between ethylmercury and methylmercury suggest that neurotoxicity may also occur at low doses of thimerosal.” Even Washington currently has laws set in place for thimerosal, and pregnant women, as well as toddlers, cannot receive vaccines containing more than a trace amount of the ingredient.
I believe the CDC is aware of the risks that are linked to thimerosal, hence why people now have the option to request a flu vaccine without it. Still, with all of this being said, if children no longer receive vaccines containing thimerosal, why would it be okay for pregnant women to get it?
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