Despite the fact that pregnant women and infants are increased risk for severe, influenza-related illness, nearly half of women approaching childbirth fail to get a flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, in a recently published study, the CDC also found that simply offering to give a pregnant woman a flu shot increased the rate of coverage from 56% to around 70%. The report is careful to distinguish making a recommendation (eg, “You should consider getting a flu shot”) from extending an offer (“We can give you a flu shot right now”). Mere recommendations resulted in vaccination rates that were actually lower than the overall average (43%). When pregnant women present to your urgent care center, regardless of the presenting complaint, probe for their flu vaccination status. If they haven’t gotten a flu shot this year, and there are no contraindications for a particular patient, offer to provide one on the spot. You’ll help her and her unborn child increase their chances of avoiding serious illness and reaffirm your standing as a public health advocate.
CDC: Offering a Flu Shot Moves More Pregnant Women to Get One