Low rates of vaccination during pregnancy leave moms, babies unprotected

Most pregnant women in the United States have not received the influenza and pertussis vaccines, according to a new CDC Vital Signs .

Most pregnant women in the United States have not received the influenza and pertussis vaccines, according to a new CDC Vital Signs . The safe and effective vaccines are recommended during pregnancy to reduce the risks of the two diseases and protect the infants and pregnant women. CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, said: "I want to reinforce that all expectant mothers should be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care. CDC strongly recommends that health care providers speak with moms-to-be about the benefits of safe Tdap and flu vaccination for their health and the well-being of their babies." A CDC survey of more than 2,000 women aged 18-49 years who were pregnant any time between August 2018 and April 2019 found that 54% reported getting an influenza vaccination before or during pregnancy. In addition, 55% reported receiving Tdap during pregnancy, but just 35% reported getting both the influenza and Tdap vaccines. The highest vaccination rates were among women whose health care providers offered or referred them for vaccination. Black, non-Hispanic women had lower vaccination rates compared with women of other races and were also less likely to report a health care provider offer or referral for vaccination. "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 Amanda Cohn, MD, 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."