Kashmir Indepth

Pregnant women in Kashmir not getting flu vaccine: DAK

Srinagar Feb 20 : “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.

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