Pregnant women in New Zealand encouraged to get seasonal flu jab soon

Pregnant women in New Zealand have been urged by health officials to get an early seasonal flu jab in the next few weeks in case there is an early reappearance of swine flu.

The H1N1 influenza, which spread to New Zealand after it broke out in Mexico and the US last year, has been included in the seasonal influenza vaccine for this year, 3 News reported.

Medical experts have not pushed hard for pregnant women to get the jab in past years as they were concerned that vaccinations would be blamed for miscarriages that can occur naturally in early pregnancy.

Health minister Dr Nikki Turner has strongly recommended that women who will be pregnant during the flu season have a seasonal immunisation.

According to Mr Turner, women who were pregnant and had a pre-existing medical condition were at even greater risk of developing a more severe illness.

However, director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases in Hong Kong Zhong Nanshan believes it is not advisable for those who are less than three months pregnant to receive any vaccinations, including H1N1, the Standard reported.

According to Mr Zhong, during the first three months of pregnancy women are more vulnerable to the risk of side effects from medicines and vaccines.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19659293-ADNFCR