A new study published Wednesday in the journal Vaccine found a possible link between the flu vaccine and miscarriage early in pregnancy. The study's authors are looking to do more in-depth research on the possible connection, but it is the first study to identify a potential link between the flu vaccine and miscarriage.
The research found women who had miscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have received the flu vaccine two years in a row. These findings suggest a potential association, however, not a causal link -- meaning the data don't necessarily show the vaccine directly causes miscarriages. More research is required.
"We are not saying this is a causal relationship," James Donahue, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic and the lead author of the study told the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. "There's no biological basis for this phenomenon, so the study represents something that wasn't expected."
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend pregnant women get the flu vaccine no matter which trimester they're in, and this research isn't strong enough to change those recommendations.
"I think it's really important for women to understand that this is a possible link, and it is a possible link that needs to be studied and needs to be looked at over more [flu] seasons," Amanda Cohn, a senior adviser for vaccines at the CDC, which funded the study, told The Washington Post.
Expecting a wave of worrying expectant moms following the release of the study, the CDC reached out to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to warn them, according to the Associated Press.
"I want the CDC and researchers to continue to investigate this," Dr. Laura Riley, a Boston-based obstetrician who leads a committee on maternal immunization told the AP. "But as an advocate for pregnant women, what I hope doesn't happen is that people panic and stop getting vaccinated."
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