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Leading Health Care Groups Urge Providers To Talk to Pregnant Women About Influenza Vaccine
Pregnant women have high risk for serious complications from flu
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 09, 2011
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
The letter was signed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Pharmacists Association, the Association for Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the March of Dimes, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The letter urges health care professionals to vaccinate their pregnant patients and counsel them on the benefits of the vaccine.
"Family physicians can have a real impact by simply talking with their pregnant patients about all of the immunizations recommended during pregnancy and in the postpartum period," said Glen Stream, MD, MBI, president of the AAFP. “Lack of awareness of the benefits of vaccination and concerns about vaccine safety are common barriers, but pregnant patients whose health care provider recommend and offer influenza vaccination are almost five times more likely to be vaccinated.”
The influenza vaccine is safe to administer to pregnant women in any trimester. Pregnant women should be given the flu shot, not the nasal spray version of the vaccine.
Pregnant women carry a heightened risk for serious complications and death from the flu due to changes in the immune system, as well as in the heart and lungs, during pregnancy. Influenza is five times more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant.
You can view the joint letter here. For more information on pregnancy and vaccination against the flu, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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