Disease and it’s prevention is a huge global issue that affects us all and experts are always looking at ways to protect us all better. It seems that some of them think pregnant women should be included in vaccine research, although there are others that are against it. Women expecting a baby are usually purposely excluded because of the possibility of harming the unborn child. However, some experts are pointing out that sometimes the mother and child is in more danger from catching an illness than they are from having a weakened form of the virus in an injection.
A Catch 22 Situation
A recent report by the Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics and New Technologies (PREVENT) points to a catch 22 situation. Health care providers exclude pregnant women from their trials, which means there is no data or evidence to what effect, if any, the vaccines would have on pregnant women. But because there is no data or evidence, pregnant women are excluded.
The report goes on to say that the only results are from women who did not know they were pregnant at the time of the vaccination, and as yet, no adverse effects have been reported. The doctors behind the report feel that the benefits of vaccinating can still outweigh the damage to the baby if the mother becomes infected with a disease.
Finding The Most Likely To Be Infected
In the recent Ebola outbreak in the Congo, new vaccines were tried that proved to be effective, but pregnant women were not allowed to have it. It has been suggested that where there is a likelihood of them catching something as nasty as Ebola, they should be given the vaccine along with everyone else.
There is also the possibility of using a chip kit to find out more about their DNA. This can be used to show anything that suggests they are prone to picking up diseases easily. Precautions can then be taken to give extra protection.
Vaccines That Are Safe For Pregnant Women
There are some vaccines that are known to be safe for pregnant women, and the doctors are saying they should be encouraged to have them. The one for swine flu is a typical example, and there are also one known as DPT, which protects against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus. In one study, thousands of women were injected with the rubella vaccine before they knew they were pregnant and no ill effects were reported. This suggests that this one may be safe too, although it is not given to pregnant women routinely.
The Debate Will Continue
This is a debate that is likely to continue for a long time, as some doctors are very much against the principle of using pregnant women in trials, while others see it as the only way forward. Programs such as PREVENT will carry on collecting data from women who did not know they were pregnant when they were injected, but they say this is slowing the processes of finding vaccines that are safe for expectant mothers and their babies.
Then there is a third group of doctors who are saying that the choice should be that of the expectant mothers and that as long as they are made fully aware of any risks, the choice should be theirs.