This was successfully posted to your pofile.
This box will close automatically in a few seconds. Close this window
We don't have an e-mail address on file for you. To use AAFP Connection, you must have an e-mail address in our records. Click Here
AAFP, Other Groups Stress Need for Pregnant, Postpartum Women to Be Immunized Against Flu
Expectant Mothers at High Risk for Influenza Complications
By News Staff
"Please encourage your pregnant and postpartum patients to get vaccinated against influenza," says the letter. "If you do not offer influenza vaccination, please find out who offers the vaccine in your community and send your pregnant and postpartum patients there. You play a crucial role in helping to prevent influenza in your patients and their infants, which can save their lives."
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, and the AAFP have recommended (5-page PDF; About PDFs) since 2004 that all women who are pregnant -- and those who may become pregnant -- during influenza season should be vaccinated.
However, vaccination rates for this high-risk group remain low. According to the CDC, less than one-fourth of pregnant women in the United States were vaccinated against seasonal influenza during the 2007-08 flu season. In fact, pregnant women have the lowest rates of coverage among all adult populations recommended to receive influenza vaccination.
In their letter to health care professionals, the AAFP and the other organizations said pregnant women should receive the influenza vaccine for a number of reasons.
- Changes in the immune system, heart and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from influenza compared with women who are not pregnant.
- Influenza increases the risk of premature labor and delivery.
- Vaccination during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her infant (up to 6 months of age) from the flu. Influenza hospitalization rates in infants younger than 6 months are more than 10 times that of older children.
- Pregnant women represented 5 percent of deaths from the 2009 novel influenza A (H1N1) in the United States, although only 1 percent of the overall population was pregnant during the pandemic. Severe illness in postpartum women also was documented. The 2009 H1N1 virus, which is included in the 2010-11 trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine, is expected to continue to circulate this season.
- flu vaccines have been given to millions of pregnant women during the past decade and have not been shown to cause harm to women or their infants;
- flu vaccine can be given to pregnant women during any trimester; and
- although pregnant women should receive the inactivated vaccine as an injection and not the live attenuated vaccine in spray form, postpartum women can receive either form of the vaccine, even if they are breastfeeding.
AAFP, Others Reiterate Need for Pregnant Women to Be Immunized Against Flu
Letter to Physicians Stresses Safety, Benefits of Vaccinations
AAFP Joins Other Organizations in Urging Pregnant Women to Be Immunized Against Flu
Pregnancy Raises Risks of Flu Complications, Say Groups
Confusion, Safety Concerns Contribute to Low Seasonal Flu Vaccine Coverage Among Pregnant Women
Doctor's Recommendation Makes Big Difference in Boosting Uptake
More From AAFP
CDC: Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women
CDC: Seasonal Influenza (Flu)
JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association: "Pandemic 2009 Influenza A(H1N1) Virus Illness Among Pregnant Women in the United States"
(April 21, 2010)