Because newborns who contract influenza or pertussis are at high risk for hospitalization and death, the CDC recommends that all pregnant women receive flu vaccine at any point during pregnancy and that Tdap vaccine be administered early in the third trimester of pregnancy as part of routine prenatal care. Despite having been the standard of care for years, about 65% of mothers recently surveyed reported they had not received the seasonal influenza and tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccines before or during their pregnancy. As for why women said they did not receive influenza vaccination, 17.6% said they believed it to be ineffective. For Tdap, the most commonly cited reason for non-vaccination — reported by 37.9% of women — was not knowing that the vaccine should be administered during every pregnancy, according to the MMWR. “By getting Tdap vaccine during the third trimester of pregnancy, mothers build high levels of antibodies that transfer to the fetus and continue to protect the baby after birth, preventing more than three in four cases (78%) of whooping cough in babies under 2 months old,” the CDC release said. Women whose health care professionals offer or refer them for vaccination have the highest vaccination rates.”

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