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January 27, 2010

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Miscarriages after flu vaccine

AT least seven pregnant women have suffered a miscarriage or fetal deaths after being given the H1N1 vaccine in Hong Kong.

Six had their cases reported to the Center for Health Protection of Hong Kong's Department of Health including four who had been pregnant for no longer than six months, the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper reported yesterday.

The seventh, a 39-year-old woman, suffered a miscarriage last Thursday at Princess Margaret Hospital after taking the vaccine last month.

She is considering seeking civil compensation, the report said.

The center emphasized that they were still individual cases and there was no plan to stop giving the vaccine.

But the center believed the cases had dented people's confidence in the vaccine as only 687 people had been vaccinated in the past three days, with just four of them pregnant women.

A spokesman for the center said that so far 354 pregnant women in Hong Kong had tested positive for human swine influenza. One was in a critical condition.

The spokesman said that the center's scientific committees had reviewed local and international experiences to make recommendations for target groups in the vaccination program.

He noted that the World Health Organization and health authorities of the US and European countries included pregnant women as a priority.

Hong Kong had carried out vaccinations from December 21 and the center was aware of 10 cases of adverse effects, including the six pregnant women.

However, Thomas Tsang, controller of the center, said two of the six had diabetes or a long-term drugs history, which might raise the risks for miscarriage or fetal death.


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