Study linking flu vaccine to miscarriages puzzles doctors

Mar 2012
New Hampshire
Vaccine experts are puzzling over a study that appears to link one particular flu vaccine with early miscarriages.

It’s far too soon to say the vaccine actually did cause miscarriages, and they say the study, paid for by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did not find anything definite. Only 17 women had miscarriages that might be linked with vaccination. But it’s a troubling signal that they are following up on.

In the meantime, pregnant women are still urged to get flu vaccines because they and their unborn babies are at high risk from actually getting flu — and that’s something that’s been confirmed by many studies over a long time in tens of thousands of women.

It’s a tricky issue because of the renewed and increasingly vocal anti-vaccine movement. Support is still small for such groups, which allege the government and researchers, along with many journalists, are colluding to cover up what they say are the dangers of vaccines. Public health experts fear such groups will seize on a small study such as this one as proof vaccines are dangerous.

The team is now looking at more data involving more women over more years. The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, which decides vaccination advice, discussed the findings in 2015 and will discuss them more at a meeting in October.