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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.

Cases: 132412

Reported Deaths: 1799
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
Clatsop6695
Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
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