A study by the CDC has found that only approximately half of pregnant women reported receiving the influenza and tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines. Even after receiving an offer or referral from a health care provider, approximately a third of pregnant women remained unvaccinated.
It has already been well-established that vaccinating pregnant women with the influenza and Tdap vaccines can reduce their own risk for contracting the diseases. Receiving the vaccinations, however, not only protects the mothers, but also protects the infants.

The study found that from the 2010-2011 flu season to the 2017-2018 season, pregnant women accounted for between 24-34% of influenza-associated hospitalizations per season among women age 15-44. This percentage is significant considering that only approximately 9% of US women aged 15-44 years are pregnant at any given time each year.
During the same time period, 3,928 pertussis-related hospitalizations were reported among infants less than 2 months old.

Ensuring that pregnant women receive the proper vaccinations can go a long way toward reducing these numbers. As of April 2019, maternal influenza and Tdap vaccination rates were 53.7% and 54.9%, respectively. Among women whose health care providers offered vaccination or provided referrals, 65.7% received the influenza vaccine and 70.5% received the Tdap vaccine.
A version of this article was originally published in Contemporary Clinic. Visit ContemporaryClinic.com to read more.