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Half Of All Pregnant Women Getting Flu Shots; Vaccination Rates Increase For Health Care Personnel, Surveys Find

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- About half of all pregnant women and 72 percent of health care personnel are getting recommended flu vaccinations, according to two separate surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted by Abt Associates on influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women and health care workers during the 2012-2013 flu season.

Both groups need influenza vaccinations. Pregnant women are at a high risk of developing complications from flu, including severe illness and hospitalization. If a pregnant woman gets a flu vaccination, they will receive protection not only for themselves, but also their unborn and newborn babies, especially babies less than 6 months old who are too young to be vaccinated. Similarly, if health care personnel get a flu vaccination, they will receive protection and be able to help protect their patients and family members from the serious consequences of getting the flu.

The survey of 1,702 pregnant women found that flu vaccination was highest — at 70 percent — among women whose health care providers recommended and offered the flu shot to them. Women who received only a recommendation but no offer of vaccination and those who received no recommendation were less likely to get vaccinated. Similarly, women who lacked health insurance, had less frequent visits with their doctor, or had a lower socioeconomic status had lower vaccination coverage than other survey participants.

Concern about safety risks to their baby, beliefs that the vaccination would give them flu, or that the vaccine was ineffective were the top reasons pregnant women reported for not getting the shot. However, vaccination coverage was higher among all women who received both a health care provider recommendation for vaccination and offer to provide the flu shot, even among those who had negative attitudes about the effectiveness or safety of the shot.

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