Protect Your Unborn Baby From The Flu

Flu shots among pregnant women need to increase this year

(RxWiki News) There are so many things to remember to do and not do when you become pregnant. High up on your to-do list should be making sure you're vaccinated against the flu.

According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than half of pregnant women in the US are getting their flu shots.

"Get your flu shot."

The CDC estimated how many pregnant women got their flu shot during the 2011-12 flu season using an online survey.

The survey was conducted April 3 through 17 and included women who were pregnant at any point between October 2011 and January 2012.

A total of 1,600 women responded, and 47 percent said they had gotten a flu shot. Ten percent of the women had gotten it before becoming pregnant, and the other 37 percent got their shot during pregnancy.

It is safe to get the flu shot at any point in a woman's pregnancy, regardless of the trimester. In this report, those who received their flu shot while pregnant were evenly distributed across different trimesters.

The percentage of women reporting that they had received a recommendation and offer of a flu shot from their medical provider was 44 percent and, of these women, 74 percent got the shot.

Among the women who were told to get a shot but were not offered it by their doctor, only 48 percent eventually got the flu shot.

Only 11 percent of the women got a flu shot when they did not get a recommendation for or an offer of one.

The report noted that recommendations and availability of the influenza immunization can increase the number of women who are protected from the flu.

"Continued efforts are needed to encourage providers of medical care to routinely recommend and offer influenza vaccination to women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant," they wrote.

The report found that younger women were less likely to be vaccinated against the flu than older women. Those aged 18 to 24 had a coverage rate of 42 percent compared to 49 percent among women aged 25 to 49.

The highest coverage was found among women with more education than a college degree (61 percent). Those with less than a college degree had 43 percent coverage.

There was also higher coverage among those who had private or military coverage: half of these women got their shots, compared to just over a third of women without medical insurance.

The overall flu vaccination rate of pregnant women has remained steady compared to last year, the report states, but it falls short of the goal of 80 percent coverage.

The report appeared in the September 27 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Review Date: 
September 27, 2012