PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The majority of pregnant women aren’t getting two critical vaccines that doctors recommend to help protect themselves and their babies, according to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to new data from the CDC released Tuesday, between August 2018 and April 2019 65 percent of moms-to-be didn’t receive both vaccinations for the flu (influenza) and whooping cough (pertussis).
Both illnesses can send moms-to-be and young children to the hospital, and can even be deadly to infants who are too young to get a vaccine.
Generation after generation, Dr. Zvonko Spasic with Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg, Virginia has taken care of many growing families. During this time of year, he often talks to his patients and their families about the proper shots to get.
“If you get a vaccination into the pregnancy, in the postpartum period, the baby is protected too,” he explained. “[A vaccine] can [also] reduce hospital admissions by 40 percent.”
Pregnant women are two times more likely to end up in the hospital if they catch the flu.
The CDC study also found women are more likely to get the shots in a healthcare provider offers or gives them a referral. However, black, non-Hispanic women had lower vaccination rates than women of other races.
They also didn’t report to the study that a healthcare provider recommended they get vaccinated. Dr. Spasic says that’s part of his responsibility.
“Providers also [have a] role to emphasize to the patient how important it is,” he added.
If you or a loved one develops flu-like symptoms, don’t wait to get checked out by a doctor. Pregnant women can still get treatments to mitigate some of the symptoms so they don’t get worse.
The flu vaccine typically lasts about six months, Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials say. It takes a few weeks for the shot to kick in and start working in your body.
The VDH does not specifically collect data on how many pregnant women get vaccinated, but health officials highly suggest they do. There are also resources other resources available for moms-to-be from the VDH.