Srinagar: Most of the pregnant women in Kashmir valley
are not getting vaccinated against flu said Doctors Association
Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday in a communiqué.
“Despite life-saving benefits of flu vaccine in pregnancy, majority
of expectant mothers are unvaccinated,” said DAK President and
flu expert Dr. Nisar ul Hassan.
“The reason why pregnant women are unvaccinated is because
they are unawareabout the importance of flu vaccine,” he said.
“Also, doctors do not offer flu vaccine to expectant mothers
putting them and their babies at risk,” he added.
Dr. Nisar said pregnant women are prone to develop severe illness
from flu, which can lead to hospitalization, and even death.
Quoting a study, he said flu vaccine reduces pregnant women’s
risk of hospitalization by 40%.
“The vaccine in pregnancy saves infants from dying in the womb,”
Dr. Nisar said adding “a large study has shown that flu vaccine
reduces the risk ofstillbirths by 51%.”
He said there is evidence to suggest that a pregnant woman sick
with flu has a greater risk of preterm delivery and that a flu vaccine
lessens that risk.
Dr. Nisar said mother’s flu shot protects her baby up to 6 months
after he or she is born, which is important because babies younger
than 6 months of age cannot be vaccinated.
“In a paper published in journal Pediatrics it was found that infants
born to women vaccinated for the flu were 81% less likely to be
hospitalized during their first 6 months of life,” he said.
“Flu vaccine is perfectly safe for pregnant women and can be
given to pregnant women during any stage of pregnancy. The
power of vaccination in pregnancy is a message that should be
broadcast far and wide. It is imperative that obstetricians should
advocate for flu vaccination and provide flu vaccine to expecting
mothers,” said Dr. Nisar.