I am frequently asked by patients whether to get vaccinated for the flu. The answer is an unequivocal yes! Whether a woman is trying to conceive, just found out she is pregnant, or is well into her pregnancy, she should be vaccinated against the flu.
When the H1N1 flu hit a few years ago, there was initially no vaccine. When it was finally available, many women were afraid to use it. What we know from the H1N1 outbreak, well as from large flu outbreaks in the past, is that pregnant and post-partum women are at significantly increased risk for complications from the flu.
If you are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy, you should get the injection. It does not contain any live virus, and there is no risk to either the woman or her pregnancy. The vaccine can be given at any time during pregnancy.
The flu vaccine is available at many doctors’ offices (internal medicine, family practice, Ob/Gyn), at local pharmacies and at health centers. It needs to be administered yearly, as the vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against the strains of the flu virus that are anticipated to be present each flu season. This changes from year to year. This year’s flu vaccine will protect you against four strains of flu, including H1N1.
You can also receive both the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine dose (or booster dose) at the same time safely.
Protect yourself, protect your pregnancy. Get the flu vaccine now!
Dr. Klipstein is a graduate of the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She is board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. She holds fellowships in both infertility and medical ethics.
Dr. Klipstein is widely published, having written numerous articles in both medical and ethics journals. She has also authored several book chapters and presented at numerous medical conferences. She is fluent in Spanish and Hebrew.