Study suggests possible link between repeat flu vaccination and miscarriage

There may be an association between being vaccinated for influenza in consecutive flu seasons and miscarriage, according to a CDC-funded study published in Vaccine.

For the study, researchers analyzed data compiled in the CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink over the course of two flu seasons from 2010 to 2012. Researchers compared 485 cases of miscarriage with 485 controls who carried fetuses to term. Women who received a flu vaccination for two consecutive flu seasons displayed a 7.7 overall adjusted odds ratio for experiencing a miscarriage, compared to a 1.3 overall adjusted odds ratio for women who were not vaccinated for influenza the previous flu season. Of the 485 women who miscarried, 17 were vaccinated 28 days before the miscarriage and had received the vaccine the prior flu season, according to The Washington Post.

Researchers did not identify a causal relationship between the flu vaccine and miscarriage. Additionally, no such association existed in women who received the vaccine more than 28 days prior to the miscarriage.

The researchers said the findings merit further research into the possible link between the flu vaccine and miscarriages, but do not warrant a change in influenza vaccine recommendations for pregnant women, as the virus can pose serious risks to women and their developing infants.

"Additional studies are needed to address the concern raised by this study," Haywood Brown, MD, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told The Washington Post. "In evaluating all of the available scientific information, there is insufficient information to support changing the current recommendation, which is to offer and encourage routine flu vaccinations during pregnancy regardless of the trimester of pregnancy."

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