An Okay Shot for Pregnant Moms

Meningococcal vaccine for pregnant women appears safe and without serious side effects

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) A pregnant woman should stay as healthy as possible to keep her baby safe and healthy. This includes protecting herself from infectious diseases.

A recent study found that the meningococcal vaccine appears to be safe for pregnant women.

The meningococcal vaccine protects against diseases that can cause meningitis or bloodstream infections.

This study showed no evidence of possible serious risks from the vaccine in pregnant women in a national reporting system.

"Attend all prenatal appointments."

The study, led by Yenlik Zheteyeva, MD, of the Immunization Safety Office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at the safety of the meningococcal conjugate vaccine for pregnant women.

The meningococcal vaccine protects against most types of meningococcal diseases.

These include meningitis (an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord) and other bloodstream infections. Meningococcal diseases can be fatal or cause permanent disabilities.

The researchers looked for all reports from 2005 through 2011 in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) involving pregnant women who got the meningococcal vaccine.

VAERS is the system where all adverse events are reported after a person receives a vaccine. Reporting the adverse event does not mean it was caused by the vaccine.

The reports in VAERS are not all side effects of vaccines. They are records of all the various events that have happened to patients after getting vaccines, the causes of which need to be investigated.

After identifying 103 reports in VAERS, the researchers reviewed the reports and any available medical records.

Over a third of the reports (38 of them) did not describe any adverse events that happened.

No deaths of the pregnant women or their babies were reported. The most commonly reported pregnancy-related adverse event was miscarriage, which occurred in 17 of the 103 reports (16.5 percent).

Four women reported urinary tract infections and three reported fever with vomiting. One woman reported having a baby with a birth defect.

None of these events were identified as being linked to the vaccine. There was no evidence to indicate these events were anything besides a coincidence in that they occurred after the vaccine was received.

The researchers concluded that there were no pattern of events in women or their babies that needed further safety investigation.

"This review, while limited, supports the recommendations that [the meningococcal] vaccine may be used in pregnant women at increased risk for meningococcal disease," the authors wrote.

Teenagers are the main group that should be receiving the meningococcal vaccine. The authors reported that about 71 out of every 1,000 teenagers gave birth in 2005.

The study was published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where all the authors work. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 24, 2013
Last Updated:
August 1, 2013