KIE Senior Research Scholar and Berman Institute of Bioethics Director Ruth Faden recently visited NPR to talk through the pressures that pregnant women face in choosing whether or not to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu.
“Pregnant women are at the top of the CDC’s list to receive the H1N1 vaccine. But they’re under huge cultural pressures not to unless absolutely necessary,” explains the interviews show notes. “Will they get a vaccine if they’re not even sick?”
When asked about widespread reluctance among pregnant women to get the vaccination — despite the very real threat that H1N1 infection would pose to the health of their developing baby — Dr. Faden explains that cultural pressures to avoid medication during pregnancy are exacerbated by a very real lack of knowledge about illness during pregnancy. “This is part of a bigger problem,” she says. “There is a tremendous reluctance to include pregnant women in research. In fact, there is no group in the United States about which we have less evidence than pregnant women.”