A significant percentage of pregnant women are not getting a pair of critically important vaccines despite persistent efforts by public health officials to encourage immunizations, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An online survey conducted last spring showed that just over half of pregnant women had received flu and pertussis-containing vaccines during their pregnancies; only 35% received both.
The rates are “not really budging. They’re pretty close to previous years,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, told STAT. “And that’s disappointing.”
The CDC recommends pregnant women receive pertussis-containing vaccine — the vaccine, called Tdap, is bundled with tetanus and diphtheria vaccines — during each pregnancy. [see “cdc lying …” below -rw] It also recommends that all Americans over the age of 6 months receive a flu shot every year, with a special emphasis placed on the importance of the vaccine for pregnant women, who can become severely ill if they contract influenza.
But the survey, conducted over a two-week period, found that only 55% of pregnant women had received a Tdap vaccination during their pregnancy and 54% had received a flu shot.
Getting these vaccines protects pregnant women. But the antibodies that are passed to the developing fetus protect their babies after birth as well, when they are too young to be vaccinated. Babies get their first shot of pertussis-containing vaccine at 2 months and can’t be vaccinated against flu until they are 6 months old.
“It’s incredibly important,” said Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center. “We have all seen pregnant women in the ICU with influenza.”…
Meanwhile, out in the real world: