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Pregnant Women, New Parents Urged to Get Swine Flu Vaccine

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Women who are pregnant and new parents should get the swine flu vaccine when it becomes available this fall, to protect themselves and their children, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

Speaking during a telebriefing, Dr. Anne Schuchat, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said women at any stage of pregnancy should get the shot, the Associated Press reported.

"There's no benefit to waiting until you're out of the first trimester," added Dr. Laura Riley, of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The H1N1 swine flu first appeared in Mexico and the United States in mid-April, and then spread to the southern hemisphere, where winter and the flu season are drawing to a close. The swine flu is expected to return to North America in the fall.

The swine flu, which typically produces mild symptoms and a quick recovery, has shown no signs of mutating into a more dangerous disease.

Vaccines for the regular seasonal flu are already available in many parts of the United States, and testing continues for a swine flu vaccine. The experts urged people Thursday to get both seasonal and swine flu vaccinations, and not wait to get them together, the AP reported.

Asked if there will be swine flu vaccines available without the controversial preservative Thimerosal, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there would be. He said there's no evidence that Thimerosal poses any health threat, but because some people are concerned about it, a form of the vaccine without it will be available, the news service said.

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