Clinical Practice: This Flu Season, Aim for Immunization Success

ACOG and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommend all persons six months and older receive an annual flu shot. This is particularly important for pregnant women, who are at increased risk of severe disease and hospitalization related to influenza.

Pregnant women who receive a flu vaccine also provide some protection to their babies through placental antibody transfer. This protects babies who are vulnerable to the flu and cannot be vaccinated until six months of age. For the past several years, influenza vaccination rates in pregnant women have hovered around 50 percent. While this is a huge improvement from previous rates, there is still a lot of work to be done to reach the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent.

Take simple steps to protect your patients:

  1. Educate all patients, especially pregnant women about the flu vaccine and the severity of influenza disease
  2. Strongly recommend and offer flu shots to all patients in your practice, particularly pregnant women. Flu shots can and should be given as soon as the vaccine is available
  3. Document flu conversations and flu vaccine administration in your patients’ chart and when possible, your state’s immunization information system
  4. Lead by example by educating and vaccinating yourself and your staff against influenza

ACOG has a multitude of resources on influenza and influenza vaccination.

Resources for Health Care Providers

Resources for Patients

  • ACOG’s FAQs Concerning Seasonal Influenza for Ob-gyns
  • ACOG’s FAQs for Patients Concerning Influenza (Flu) Vaccination During Pregnancy
  • ACOG Patient Education Pamphlet 189 The Flu Vaccine and Pregnancy 

Make sure all your patients, especially those who are pregnant, get the flu shot. If a patient refuses, be sure to document the refusal and continue to recommend the vaccine at future visits. Lead by example: get your flu shot and strongly encourage your staff to get vaccinated as well.

Do you have an immunization success story? ACOG wants to hear about it! Let us know what you’ve done to increase immunization rates in your practice by emailing immunization@acog.org. Select entries will be feature in ACOG’s monthly Immunization newsletter and on ACOG’s Immunization for Women website.

For questions regarding influenza or ACOG’s resources, please contact immunization@acog.org

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998