ATLANTA, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Despite the longstanding recommendation that pregnant women get vaccinated for influenza, vaccination levels were low prior to 2009/2010, U.S. officials say.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says vaccinating pregnant women for influenza protects both the women and their infants, especially infants younger than 6 months who are not old enough to get influenza vaccination.
"During the 2009/2010 season, about half of pregnant women were vaccinated, and this level was sustained during the 2010/2011 season at 49 percent," the report says. "However, women who were offered influenza vaccination by a healthcare provider were five times more likely to be vaccinated than women who didn't receive an offer from a provider."
Four out of 10 women in this survey were asked to have a flu shot, the report says.
"Healthcare providers need to strongly recommend and offer inactivated influenza vaccination to their pregnant patients to protect both women and their infants," health officials say.