Talking About Vaccines During Pregnancy


Supplement sponsor: American Academy of Family Physicians.

This educational supplement was made possible by cooperative agreement number 6 NU38OT000287-02-03 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC and ACOG.

Fam Pract Manag. 2021 Jul-Aug;28(4):17-20.

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Immunization is a vital component of prenatal care — offering protection from preventable diseases to patients who are pregnant and their fetuses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends immunizing every patient who is pregnant during their third trimester with the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine and providing the influenza vaccine to all patients who are pregnant during flu season. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) jointly endorse these recommendations.

Young infants are at high risk for pertussis infection and death in the first months of life. Maternal immunoglobulins produced in response to the Tdap vaccine cross the placenta to provide passive immunity to the fetus, significantly reducing pertussis hospitalizations and death in infants in the first two months of life. Prenatal Tdap vaccination protects infants 85% more effectively than postpartum vaccination.

Influenza disproportionately impacts patients of reproductive age, leading to adverse pregnancy outcomes, including fetal loss and preterm delivery.6 Prenatal influenza vaccination also results in passive immunity for the fetus — critical protection before the infant reaches six months and is eligible for vaccination.

This educational supplement provides family physicians information about overcoming vaccine myths, misinformation, and mistrust; defines our role in vaccinating patients who are pregnant; and offers communication tips to address vaccine hesitancy.

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Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

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