The Centre for Disease Prevention and Control – CDC suggests that all pregnant women should get the vaccination for flu and whooping cough. Whereas this vaccination will protect the baby against these deadly infections during their first few months of life.
Why these recommendations are needed?
The CDC has released Vital Signs recommendations on Tuesday – October 8, 2019. And according to it, the vaccines that protect against flu and whooping cough are safe for pregnant women. Moreover, these have no adverse effects on unborn babies.
The CDC suggests that all pregnant women should get the flu vaccine at any time during their pregnancy and Tdap (whooping cough vaccine) early in the third trimester of each pregnancy. The pregnant women who get the vaccine transfer the antibodies to their unborn babies.
That in return will protect them during the first few months of their lives until the babies can get their shots against these infections. The organization’s website states that “Recommendations from healthcare providers are one of the strongest motivators for pregnant women to get vaccinated.”
So, many pregnant women and their unborn babies remain unprotected against these vaccine-preventable infections unless such recommendations are provided. Whereas, CDC Internet Panel Survey 2019 acts as the source of such information.
According to the CDC, two-thirds of all pregnant women do not receive flu and whooping cough vaccination. And among the 35% of pregnant women who receive vaccines only half receive both the shots. Besides this, the risk of these deadly infections is greatest in babies less than 6 months of age.
These babies can only receive these vaccinations when they are at least six months old. So, these babies with an immature immune system also have a greater risk of hospitalization due to influenza. The CDC survey has found that 38% of pregnant women who didn’t receive the shot for whooping cough had no idea about the need for vaccination during pregnancy.
Protect babies against deadly flu and whooping cough
Dr. Anne Schuchat is the principal deputy director of the CDC. In a briefing, she stated that influenza and whooping cough are infections that can be deadly for the babies, in particular for those who are too young to have vaccination directly. So, the agency is stressing the significance of these two safe and effective vaccines for pregnant women.
The CDC suggests that healthcare providers should discuss the beneficial effects of these two vaccines with pregnant women. They should offer vaccines or referrals to other vaccination providers. And reinforce that having vaccination is the best way to protect young babies against flu and whooping cough.
The recommendation states that pregnant women should get Tdap vaccines during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Whereas, the flu shot can be given at any time during pregnancy. Getting flu shots have led to a 40% reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to influenza in pregnant women.
While the risk has reduced to about 72% in infants below six months of age. Moreover, vaccination of whooping cough in pregnant women has reduced the hospitalization risk in babies less than 2 months old by 91%.
Overall, the vaccination during pregnancy protects the babies until they are ready for their shots. Schuchat has also warned that infants who get influenza have a greater risk of hospitalization due to severe dehydration, pneumonia, and swelling of the brain.