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“Pregnant women are nearly categorically excluded from biomedical research science,” explained Carleigh Krubiner, one of the lead authors of a recent report on maternal immunisation. And “because we lack the evidence by not including them in research, ultimately we have significant delays or outright denials [in] offering vaccines.”

While the tendency has been to err on the side of caution and recommend against providing treatments to pregnant women, the risks of leaving them untreated can be just as severe—as the case of Ebola highlights.

Historically, women and children often weren’t included in clinical research in an effort to protect them from the potential risks. But that meant there was little evidence base to support their medical needs—the risk was simply shifted further down the line. Changes to US regulations since the 1990s sought to remedy this, with the National Institutes of Health now requiring any government-funded research to include women and minorities. Yet somehow, said Krubiner, even as women and children were increasingly drawn into research trials, “we didn’t bring pregnant women along for the ride.”

…continue reading ‘Women the World Over Need Better Access to Life-Saving Vaccines’

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