ATLANTA, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Pregnant women who were offered or recommended a seasonal flu vaccination by their doctor were more likely to become immunized, U.S. health officials said.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend influenza vaccination for women who will be pregnant during the influenza season, regardless of trimester. A report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report said pregnant women were at increased risk during the 2009/2010 influenza season for severe disease and mortality from influenza A (H1N1) and (pH1N1) pandemic virus infection.
The report used data from 29 states and New York City for women who had live births from September 2009 to May 2010.
"Median state coverage was 47.1 percent for seasonal flu and 40.4 percent for pH1N1 influenza vaccination," the report said. "Overall, women who reported that a healthcare provider offered them influenza vaccination or told them to get it during their pregnancy were more likely to be vaccinated than those without an offer or recommendation."
The study found influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women was higher during the 2009/2010 influenza season than in previous influenza seasons.
Although data from the 2010-2011 season indicate continuation of these gains, continued education of physicians and pregnant women regarding the risk for severe illness and pregnancy-related complications from influenza illness and the benefits and safety of influenza vaccination is needed, CDC officials said.