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Most pregnant women aren't getting flu and whooping cough shots, CDC warns

Most pregnant women in the United States don't get flu and whooping cough vaccines even though the shots are safe and recommended as part of routine prenatal...

Posted: Oct 8, 2019 12:59 PM

Most pregnant women in the United States don't get flu and whooping cough vaccines even though the shots are safe and recommended as part of routine prenatal care, a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

The report said the low rates of vaccination during pregnancy could put moms-to-be and newborns at greater risk of infection, hospitalization and death. The two vaccinations pass on antibodies to the fetus that provide protection after birth, when babies are too young to be vaccinated. It added that pregnant women have more than double the risk of hospitalization if they get influenza compared to women of childbearing age who aren't pregnant, the CDC said.

The CDC surveyed nearly 2,100 women ages 18 to 49 who were pregnant any time between August 2018 and April 2019. They found that 54% had reported getting a flu shot and 55% said that had received Tdap -- the vaccination for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, which is known as whooping cough.

It said that only 35% had received both vaccinations.

"Obstetricians and midwives are on the front line of care for expectant mothers and are the most trusted source of vaccine information for their pregnant patients," said Dr. Amanda Cohn, chief medical officer in CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"We encourage them to start discussing the importance of maternal vaccination early in pregnancy, and continue vaccination discussions with their patients throughout pregnancy."

"Influenza and pertussis, or whooping cough, are serious infections that can be deadly for babies," Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's principal deputy director, told reporters Tuesday.

In infants, whooping cough can lead to episodes of coughing that last for weeks. "Parents may see their babies gasping for air and even turning blue from lack of oxygen," Schuchat explained. It can also lead to vomiting after coughing fits and more serious complications such as pneumonia and seizures, experts say.

Since 2010, up to 20 babies have died each year from whooping cough in the United States, according to the CDC.

The CDC recommends that all pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of each pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine during the early part of the third trimester of each pregnancy.

Women whose health care providers offered or referred them for vaccination were more likely to report receiving the vaccinations. About three-quarters of pregnant women said they had been, but of those, roughly a third remained unvaccinated.

The survey also found that black women had lower vaccination rates than women of other races and were less likely to say they had received an offer or referral for a vaccination from their health care provider.

The top reason for not getting the Tdap vaccine was not knowing it was needed for each pregnancy. The top reason for not getting vaccinated against influenza was the belief the vaccine wasn't effective. The next most common reason for not receiving either vaccine was safety concerns for the infant -- despite both vaccines having a strong track record of proven safety.

The CDC said the flu shot lowers a pregnant woman's risk of hospitalization by an average of 40%. Since 2010, among women ages 15 to 44 years who were hospitalized for influenza, 24% to 34% of them were pregnant -- even though only approximately 9% of US women in this age group are pregnant at any given time each year.

Maternal vaccination also reduces the risk of hospitalization from influenza in babies younger than 6 months by an average of 72%, the report said.

In infants younger than 2 months, the Tdap vaccination is 77.7% effective in preventing whooping cough cases and 90.5% effective in preventing hospitalizations.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32994

Reported Deaths: 547
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7204138
Marion469594
Washington454060
Umatilla298741
Clackamas242061
Malheur163327
Lane123417
Jackson11615
Deschutes85212
Yamhill76213
Jefferson5418
Polk53215
Linn52213
Morrow5056
Lincoln48213
Union4462
Benton3146
Wasco2963
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Hood River2520
Douglas2334
Clatsop2170
Josephine1982
Columbia1791
Coos1570
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook530
Lake330
Curry310
Wallowa311
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant100
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 812711

Reported Deaths: 15633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2684556515
Riverside589321206
San Bernardino54482925
Orange534481216
San Diego46734776
Kern31994369
Fresno28441382
Sacramento22356406
Santa Clara21241314
Alameda21240406
San Joaquin20245441
Contra Costa16640206
Stanislaus16471356
Tulare15970263
Ventura12775150
Imperial11852317
San Francisco11195101
Monterey995372
San Mateo9897150
Santa Barbara9090113
Merced8872142
Kings765180
Sonoma7412122
Marin6730118
Solano640065
Madera453965
Placer358745
San Luis Obispo356229
Butte283344
Yolo281555
Santa Cruz23609
Sutter170511
Napa169013
San Benito134811
Yuba11537
El Dorado11304
Mendocino93418
Shasta88317
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5735
Lake55511
Nevada5377
Colusa5316
Humboldt5088
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18815
Mono1662
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
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