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Leading Physician Groups Urge Pregnant Women to Get Both Flu Vaccines
Pregnant women have high-risk for serious complications from the seasonal flu and H1N1
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 22, 2009
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
American Medical Association
Office of Communications
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The letter urges health care professionals to vaccinate their pregnant patients and counsel them on the benefits of the vaccine. Both the seasonal influenza vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine are safe to administer to pregnant women in any trimester and can be given simultaneously. 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,” said AMA Board of Trustees Member Mary Ann McCaffree, M.D. “We need to counsel our patients so that they understand that the vaccines are safe and that getting vaccinated is the single best way to protect them and their babies from the flu.”
"It is critical that physicians talk with their pregnant patients about all of the immunizations recommended during pregnancy and in the postpartum period," said AAFP President Lori Heim, M.D. "Right now it is even more important for physicians to educate pregnant women to be immunized for both H1N1 and seasonal flu. Pregnant women are four times more likely to be hospitalized from novel H1N1 influenza, but that risk can be lessened through vaccination."
“ACOG is taking an active role in encouraging obstetrician-gynecologists to vaccinate their pregnant patients against both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu,” said ACOG President Gerald F. Joseph Jr., M.D. “We need to ensure that all pregnant women understand the seriousness to both their health and the health of the fetus if they become ill with the flu.”
You can view the joint letter here. For more information on pregnancy and vaccination against the flu, visit: www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/pregnancy.
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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.
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