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Vaccine protects pregnant as flu epidemic hits new country

Tuesday November 3rd, 2009

Woman blowing her noseA swine flu vaccine works well with pregnant women - a key risk group in the pandemic - after just one dose, researchers reported last night.

Experts said the results were "very reassuring".

US researchers said the early analysis of the trial showed a "robust immune response".

The findings come from blood samples taken three weeks after vaccination from 50 pregnant women. Scientists estimated that as many as 47 of the women were protected from the H1N1 flu as a result.

They said there was no evidence of safety concerns from the vaccine, manufactured in the US by Sanofi Pasteur.

World-wide, pregnant women have been among those most vulnerable to swine flu. Some 28 have died in the USA.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said: "For pregnant women, who are among the most vulnerable to serious health problems from 2009 H1N1 infection, these initial results are very reassuring.

"The immune responses seen in these healthy pregnant women are comparable to those seen in healthy adults at the same time point after a single vaccination, and the vaccine has been well tolerated."

* In a further announcement last night the institute said young children seemed to benefit from a second dose of swine flu vaccine.

The findings from 583 children led the experts to recommend that children aged ten and over should only have one dose of vaccine.

Under the age of ten, there was a "significantly improved" immune response after the second dose, they said.

* Meanwhile it was announced that Ukraine is in the grip of a major swine flu epidemic.

More than 2,300 people have been hospitalised with the disease, including more than 1,100 children. Some 38 people have died from chest diseases, mainly healthy adults aged between 20 and 50.

The country has put in place mass school closures and cancelled public gatherings in a bid to stem the spread of disease.

The World Health Organisation said it continued not to recommend travel restrictions - but urged travellers to take precautions.

* In Britain it was reported that a woman aged 31 has died from the virus shortly after giving birth. The woman died in Salford, Greater Manchester, after being admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms.

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Flu & Viruses | North America | Respiratory | Traveller Health | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology | World Health

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