Flu Vaccination for Pregnant Women
We are asking for your help in protecting all pregnant and postpartum women against influenza. Influenza activity in the U.S. remains high overall and may continue for weeks. H1N1 viruses have been dominant so far. This is the H1N1 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic, which was especially hard on pregnant women. CDC has received reports of flu hospitalizations and deaths in pregnant women with influenza virus infection this season. It is important that we be vigilant in protecting pregnant and postpartum women from flu. The first and most important step for flu prevention is getting a flu vaccine; prompt antiviral treatment is our second line of defense in reducing flu complications and death.
CDC recently posted a letter to providers, specifically those of you that serve and have the potential to reach pregnant women, with summary recommendations to prevent influenza and its complications in this population. The following organizations have cosigned the letter: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), National Hispanic Medical Associations (NHMA), National Foundation of Infectious Diseases (NFID), American Pharmacists Association (APhA), Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), March of Dimes, National Medical Association (NMA), and CDC.
Your recommendations make a difference to your patients. Here are some key points to consider during discussions with your patients about the importance of flu vaccination and prompt treatment for flu:
Pregnant women should receive seasonal influenza vaccine.
Influenza vaccine is safe.
Antiviral drugs can treat flu illness and are recommended for pregnant women who get the flu.
The letter is available for download at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/protect/
pregnancy-letter-2014.pdf, and also available on various CDC flu web pages, including www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/pregnant.htm
If you have questions about influenza, influenza vaccine and pregnant women, please call the MDPH immunization program at 617-983-6800 and ask to speak to an immunization nurse or epidemiologist.