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Your Questions About the Flu Vaccine

Can I Get the Flu Vaccine if I'm Pregnant?

You should get the flu shot if you're pregnant. "It's recommended for two reasons," says Duchin. "One is because pregnant women have a higher rate of severe influenza and hospitalizations than non-pregnant women. And if you give the vaccine to pregnant women, you protect their unborn baby for the first 6 months." Pregnant women should only receive the flu shot.

Does the Flu Vaccine Contain Thimerosal?

You might have heard the buzz about thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative used in certain vaccines. All vaccines that are marketed for use in young children no longer contain thimerosal, but it is still found in some vaccines used in adults, including certain flu vaccines.

Researchers have studied thimerosal extensively, and they haven't found any connection between the preservative and autism or any other serious health risks. Still, if you're worried, you can ask your doctor to use a thimerosal-free vaccine.

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Reviewed on March 11, 2011

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