Missouri's pregnant women may have wait for flu vaccine

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ST. LOUIS -- Many pregnant women in Missouri may have waits for the swine flu vaccine shot, though they're supposed to be among the first to get it.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that under Missouri law, pregnant women and children under 3 aren't supposed to receive vaccines with the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. Missouri health officials said Tuesday they've tried to plan accordingly.

They say 11,600 thimerosol-free vaccine shots have been shipped to the state for pregnant women. They're also keeping close watch on available supplies. It's hard to say how many pregnant women live in Missouri, but about 80,000 babies are born in the state in a year.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says vaccines with thimerosal are safe for pregnant women and their babies.

But bans on the preservative in Missouri and other states are presenting a challenge.

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