Immunizations (cont.)

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What vaccines should a pregnant woman get?

The concerns surrounding the dangers of vaccines during pregnancy is mostly theoretical. The concern is related to the risk of transfer to the fetus. There is no evidence of any risk associated with the use of inactivated (killed) vaccines in pregnant women. The biggest concern is related to the use of live vaccines. While the risk is extremely low, the concern is that the live virus will be transferred from the mother to the fetus. There must be a discussion between the physician and the mother whenever a live vaccine is considered during pregnancy. The CDC has issued a guide to help expectant mothers and physicians make good decisions related to the risk and benefits of using a vaccine during pregnancy (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/preg-guide.htm). Tetanus-diphtheria with acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, hepatitis A, hepatitis B vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, and rabies vaccine are generally considered safe during pregnancy. It is currently recommended that pregnant women not receive the following vaccines: human papillomavirus, live nasal influenza vaccine, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, and zoster.

Do health-care workers need any different vaccines?

It is very important that health-care workers are up to date on all of their required vaccines. Additionally, the CDC recommends that health-care workers receive varicella (chickenpox) vaccine unless there is proof of immunity, prior vaccination, or documented history of the disease. Also, health-care workers with direct patient contact, who have not previously received a pertussis-containing tetanus shot (Tdap), are required to receive one dose. For the complete recommendations, please consult the CDC web site at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/hcw.html. Health-care workers are required by most employers to have hepatitis B vaccination and annual influenza vaccinations.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2014

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