Flu Vaccination Lacking Among Pregnant Women

October 19th 2015
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff

Only about 50% of pregnant women get vaccinated before or during their pregnancy.

Pregnant women are at increased risk for flu-related complications. Therefore, it is important that all women who are, or will become, pregnant during the flu season (October through February) get vaccinated.

Results from a recentCDCsurvey, which ran from March 31—April 6, 2015, showed that 50.3% of pregnant women polled got vaccinated before or during their pregnancy. A total of 64.9% of respondents reported receiving a provider offer of vaccination, 14.8% received a recommendation but no offer, and 20.3% received no recommendation.

Vaccination rates among these respondents was 67.9%, 33.5%, and 8.5%, respectively. Cases where providers gave an actual offer for vaccination showed the best outcome.

These results suggest a correlation between providers and patient adherence to flu vaccination during pregnancy.

Demographic data collected through the survey revealed that non-Hispanic black women had a lower vaccination rate (38.9%) than non-Hispanic white women (51.9%). A lower rate of vaccination was also reported among women who were younger than 35 years old, had a college degree or less, were not married, had public assistance insurance or no medical insurance at all, were not working, were below the poverty threshold, had no high-risk conditions other than pregnancy, had fewer than six visits to a health care provider since July 2014, and those who did not see flu vaccination in a positive light.

The most common reasons for getting vaccinated were to protect themselves and their baby and because “it was recommended by their physician.” The most common reasons for rejecting the vaccination were not having confidence in its safety and efficacy as well as concerns over getting the flu from the vaccine itself.

The results of the survey indicate that providers have an influence on pregnant patients receiving vaccination. In addition, patients’ concerns about receiving the vaccination indicate a lack of public education on vaccines. Health care providers can help to alleviate these concerns by educating their patients on the safety and side effects of the vaccine, as well as presenting an offer of vaccination, which may help raise vaccination rates in the pregnant population.

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