CDC: Too Few Pregnant Women Receiving Flu Vaccine

flu vaccine

Almost one-third of women ages 15-44 hospitalized for flu are pregnant

Approximately 65 percent of mothers-to-be in the United States have not received the two safe and effective vaccines recommended during pregnancy to reduce the risks of influenza (flu) and whooping cough (pertussis), which would in turn protect their infants and themselves. 

This information is according to a Vital Signs report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When pregnant women are vaccinated, they pass on antibodies to the fetus that provide protection after birth, during the time babies are too young to be vaccinated. Newborns who get influenza or whooping cough are at high risk of hospitalization and death.

And the benefits are not just for the babies. Pregnant women have more than double the risk of hospitalization compared to nonpregnant women of childbearing age if they get influenza. 

Since 2010, between 24 percent and 34 percent of women ages 15 to 44 years hospitalized for influenza were pregnant – even though only approximately 9 percent of U.S. women in this age group are pregnant at any given time each year.

CDC recommends that all pregnant women should get a flu vaccine during any trimester of each pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during the early part of the third trimester of each pregnancy as part of routine prenatal care.

“I want to reinforce that all expectant mothers should be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD. “CDC strongly recommends that health care providers speak with moms-to-be about the benefits of safe Tdap and flu vaccination for their health and the well-being of their babies.”

More statistics on influenza and pregnancy are available via the CDC’s website.

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