Pregnant Women Significantly Increase Flu and Tdap Vaccinations

Expecting mothers benefit from provider vaccine recommendations
pregnant mom looking at crib

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published new findings that indicate about 40 percent of pregnant women do not receive influenza and Tdap vaccines, leaving themselves and their infants more vulnerable to influenza and pertussis infection.

The CDC researchers noted in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published on October 2, 2020, that during the 2019-20 flu season, 61.2 percent of surveyed pregnant women received the flu vaccine, which was 7.5 percentage points higher than the previous flu season.

In addition, 56.6 percent of the women received the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, and 40.3 percent received both vaccines. 

The percentage of women receiving both vaccines significantly increased from 35 percent just one year ago.

These increases were driven by increased vaccination coverage among Black and Hispanic women and those of other races reported the CDC.

The CDC authors stated: "Racial disparities in vaccination coverage could decrease further with consistent provider offers or referrals for vaccination, in combination with culturally competent conversations with patients.”

Specifically, this data found approximately 20 percent of pregnant women reported not receiving a provider recommendation for these vaccinations.

This circumstance might be partly attributable to differences in the perception of a provider recommendation between patients and providers. One study indicated that providers might believe they are giving a recommendation for vaccination, but it might not be remembered by patients.

Finally, Tdap coverage estimates are subject to uncertainty, given the small sample size and exclusion of 12.9 percent of women with unknown Tdap vaccination status.

The findings in this report are subject to at least three limitations. First, this was a nonprobability sample, and results might not be generalizable to all pregnant women in the USA.

And, vaccination status was self-reported and might be subject to recall or social desirability bias. 

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that women who are or might be pregnant receive the flu and Tdap vaccines with each pregnancy to protect their health and the health of their infants.

Most people over 6 months of age are encouraged to get vaccinated every flu season since influenza infections can create severe consequences. The CDC has made this recommendation since the 2010-11 influenza season.

Unfortunately, the CDC has confirmed a total of 189 influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2019-2020 flu season.

An updated listing of authorized vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season is published on this PrecisionVaccination’s webpage

PrecisionVaccinations publishes research-based influenza news.