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Doctors encouraged pregnant mothers to get flu shots last year

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Nearly twice as many pregnant women got flu shots last year, according to the federal government. That figure rose because of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, which means about half of the women pregnant during flu season got immunized last year.

 That number is too low, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the chances of serious illness, death and lost pregnancies is greater for women who come down with the flu virus. The run-of-the-mill flu virus kills about 36,000 Americans every year.

Many of the women who did not get flu vaccines said they were afraid for their own health or the health of their babies, which is why they avoided the shots. They were essentially more afraid of the vaccine than of the flu itself.

Only 24 percent of pregnant mothers got flu shots during the 2007-2008 influenza season and only 11 percent the following year, according to the CDC, even though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices both strongly recommend that pregnant women get influenza vaccinations to protect the health of the mothers and their unborn children.

The CDC researchers looked at surveys of more than 16,000 pregnant women in 10 U.S. states for a representative sample.

"With a novel virus, 2009 H1N1, the role of health-care providers in reassuring pregnant women might have been critical because of patient concerns regarding the new vaccine," the CDC wrote.

Among 2,290 women who received the 2009 H1N1 vaccination, just over half were vaccinated at the office of their obstetrician/gynecologist, while 25.7 percent received it at a health department or community clinic.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 3, 2010
Last Updated:
December 3, 2010