Vaccines and Medications in Pregnancy Surveillance System (VAMPSS)
If you are pregnant and have asthma you may feel uneasy about taking medications, but it is very important to keep your symptoms under control. Uncontrolled asthma symptoms can cause a decrease in the amount of oxygen in your blood supply. A developing baby needs a regular supply of oxygen for normal growth and development; if your asthma is uncontrolled during pregnancy, this can harm your baby.
During flu season, it is especially important to get a flu shot because flu is more likely to cause severe illness in women who are pregnant. Pregnant women with flu also have a greater chance for serious problems for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery.
Why was VAMPSS developed?
Major congenital malformations (birth defects) occur in 3-5% of all infants, and other complications such as preterm delivery and low birth weight occur in 10-15% of pregnancies. Although medications and vaccines are uncommon causes of these adverse events, they are among the most preventable. Because pregnant women are excluded from clinical trials, there is a lack of adequate safety information for most medications taken during pregnancy. The VAMPSS surveillance system aims to collect this information in a systematic fashion and help close the knowledge gap.
What does VAMPSS do?
VAMPSS is a national surveillance system designed to monitor the use and safety of vaccines and asthma medications during pregnancy, and uses two data collection approaches to get information about how vaccines and medications might affect your baby. One part of the study collects information from women while they are pregnant and up to one year after their baby is born and the other recruits certain women who have infants born with congenital malformations (birth defects) and others whose infants are born without malformations.
Who can participate in the VAMPSS study?
Women who are currently pregnant women and:
• Have asthma and currently take or have taken a long acting beta agonist (Foradil, Serevent, Advair, Dulera, Symbicort) or short acting beta agonist (e.g. albuterol) anytime in pregnancy
• Received a flu vaccine anytime during pregnancy
• Had the flu during pregnancy and took antiviral medication
• Have had none of the above exposures but might be willing to participate as an “unexposed” pregnant woman
For more information on the study and to enroll, visit the OTIS website.
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VAMPSS is a collaboration of the AAAAI, the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) Research Center at the University of California San Diego and the Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC) at Boston University. Funding for VAMPSS is currently provided by two health-related agencies of the federal government: the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ). VAMPSS is led by an Investigative Team comprised of individuals from AAAAI, OTIS and SEC. VAMPSS activities are coordinated by an independent advisory committee comprised of individuals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as well as an independent biostatistician and a consumer representative.