The National Immunisation Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI ) has recommended that pregnant women and those breast-feeding should receive the vaccine for swine flu (H1N1 ).
Evidence suggests that pregnant women are four times more likely to develop serious complications or be hospitalised from H1N1 than non-pregnant women. These complications include early labour or severe pneumonia. The risk of these complications is higher after 14 weeks of pregnancy and for pregnant women who are at risk of medical complications. It has been shown that vaccination is the best way to prevent this illness and its potential complications and confers passive immunity for up to six months for the new-born baby.
There are two H1N1 vaccines licensed for use in Ireland, Pandemrix and Celvapan, for use in pregnancy and in the six weeks after delivery.
The Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, RCPI, based on available evidence, recommends vaccination in pregnancy for all after 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to six weeks post delivery and in certain situations (outlined above ) in pregnant women less than 14 weeks pregnant.