Only 34.8% of pregnant women have received both the influenza and Tdap vaccines, missing a chance to protect themselves and their infants from potential hospitalization and death, according to CDC data.
Anne Schuchat, MD, principal deputy director at the CDC, said during a conference call today that many women are unsure of the vaccines’ effectiveness, frequency of receiving a vaccine and a vaccine’s impact on the infant’s well-being.
“Our report suggests that there is room for improving communication between clinician and women who are pregnant,” she said. “Clinicians should explain to women that there is no need to worry about taking extra medicine and receiving extra shots during pregnancy. Clinicians can also explain that the health risks for not getting the vaccinations is much greater than the health risks for not getting them.”
The CDC data, from 2010 to 2018, also show that:
- 53.7% of pregnant women received the influenza vaccination before or during pregnancy;
- 54.9% of pregnant women received Tdap vaccination during pregnancy;
- 50.8% of pertussis hospitalizations among infants included those aged 2 months and younger; and
- 133 of every 100,000 infants aged 6 months and younger were hospitalized for influenza.
Healio Primary Care previously reported on ways clinicians can improve vaccine uptake among pregnant women, including being prepared to explain the science that debunks the myths surrounding immunizations.
The CDC’s website also has resources to assist providers in “conveying strong, specific recommendations for influenza and Tdap vaccination that are responsive to pregnant women’s concerns,” Schuchat said.
Disclosure: Schuchat reports no relevant financial disclosures.