The Nassau County Department of Health will be offering the swine flu vaccine at no cost to Nassau County pregnant women on Friday evening.
The vaccine that is being administered comes in a multi-dose vial containing thimerosal, or a mercury preservative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that there is no evidence that thimerosol is harmful to a pregnant women or fetus and advises pregnant women to get flu shots either with or without thimerosal, officials said.
Health officials warned that the H1N1 flu can cause serious illness in pregnant women and is can cause serious complications. In comparison to the general population, a greater proportion of pregnant women infected with the new H1N1 flu have been hospitalized.
Six percent of confirmed deaths related to the swine flu have been in pregnant women, while only about 1 percent of the general population is pregnant, Nassau health officials said. They also noted that pregnant women should get the “flu shot,” as the nasal-spray form of vaccine–is not currently approved for use in pregnant women.