Local pregnant women question the H1N1 vaccine

Reported by Kristy Ondo -  bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Being pregnant today isn't all about picking out baby clothes and bassinets. Moms-to-be have other things on their minds... like the H1N1 virus.

The recent H1N1 death of a Brunswick County woman who was pregnant, is drawing attention to the controversial question of whether pregnant women should be vaccinated.

That tragedy hits close to home, and makes Casey Mericle, who's due any day, grateful that she was just vaccinated for H1N1 yesterday.

"I'm glad I got it. I feel like it was the best choice," says Casey Mericle.

The Centers for Disease Control is urging pregnant women to get two shots this year - the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 vaccine. But some doctors say... not so fast.

"I would withhold the vaccine and the reason is there's just not enough known about it," says Dr. Karen Harum, a neurodevelopmental pediatrician.

Dr. Harum says she's not alltogether "anti-vaccine." In fact, her children were fully vaccinated.

"What I would recommend is that vulnerable population... the most vulnerable population is the pregnant woman and her growing fetus... that they stay away from as much manipulation of their immune system as they possibly can, because we know that inflammation in the pregnant woman results in developmental disorders," explains Dr. Harum.

Whether they're choosing to get the H1N1 vaccine or not, the pregnant women we spoke with have a couple of things in common. They all say it comes down to doing your research and trusting your doctor.

"I think it'd be a hard choice. It's new. We don't know what these shots are doing, how they're going to affect children or their mothers," says Wenonah Robelen, a mother.

And that's what new moms have to grapple with, as we head into a flu season that's now been declared a national emergency.

The baby belonging to the Brunswick County woman was delivered before she passed away.

If you are pregnant and you come down with the flu, it's important to talk to your doctor immediately. There are anti-viral medications you can take that could keep your illness from turning deadly. And just a reminder... local health departments are urging everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as more doses are available.