Pregnant women told to continue flu shots
The government would be irresponsible if it halted the swine flu vaccination programme for pregnant women after two stillbirths in a week following inoculations, the health minister said yesterday.
'If we urge pregnant women not to take the vaccine when there's no scientific evidence to support the claim, we would really be irresponsible,' Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said.
His comment came after a 33-year-old woman, who was nine months' pregnant, gave birth to a stillborn baby on Tuesday, three weeks after receiving the swine flu vaccine. She has since been released from hospital.
Also on Tuesday, the baby of a 37-year-old woman was confirmed dead, three weeks after the mother had received the swine flu jab.
Chow reiterated that there was no medical evidence to prove that the vaccine and stillbirths were related, adding that Hong Kong had about 200 stillbirth cases every year.
He said that while pregnant women were as likely as other people to suffer from side effects after taking the shots, they were 10 times more likely to require intensive care if they caught the flu.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old man with severe congenital heart disease became the 61st casualty of swine flu in Hong Kong. He was admitted to United Christian Hospital on Wednesday with fever and flu symptoms and was confirmed with swine flu. He died yesterday morning.