Two-thirds of pregnant women in the United States are leaving themselves at risk for influenza, tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis by declining to get the necessary vaccinations, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obviously, that also puts their unborn children at risk, ratcheting up the urgency to help them understand that both the flu shot and the Tdap vaccines are not only safe but necessary for their own protection. It’s not that their doctors aren’t suggesting it; the CDC says around 74% of women said their healthcare provider offered to either give them the vaccine or make a referral. So, the shortfall seems to be education and being clear about the need. When pregnant patients present to your urgent care center, ask about their vaccine status. Stress the safety of the vaccines, especially compared with the dangers of the diseases they’re proven to help prevent. Examining and treating women who are pregnant is always more challenging, given their constantly changing bodies and the fact that whatever affects her will have benefits or consequences for the fetus. JUCM looked at this topic in our November cover story. You can read When Pregnant Patients Present to the Urgent Care Center right now in our archives—and then pick up some CME credit, to boot.
CDC: Too Few Pregnant Women Are Getting Vaccines. Help Them See Why They Must