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A Healthier You

Pregnant Women Should Get Flu and Whooping Cough Shots, C.D.C. Says

10/16/2019

(New York Times) – Millions of pregnant women in the United States are not getting two vital vaccines that protect not only their health, but their babies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

The vaccines — against flu and whooping cough — are strongly recommended during every pregnancy. But only about 35 percent of pregnant women in the country are receiving both vaccines, according to a new C.D.C. report, and just over half receive one.

The consequences of missing vaccines for flu and whooping cough, also called pertussis, can be dire.

“Influenza and pertussis, or whooping cough, are serious infections that can be deadly for babies, especially for those who are too young to be vaccinated directly,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the C.D.C. in a briefing. “We are stressing the importance of two safe and effective vaccines for pregnant women and the risks to both women and their babies when these vaccines are not given during pregnancy.”

Whooping cough can be fatal, especially for babies, who cannot get their first vaccine against it until they are two months old. The C.D.C. report said that about 70 percent of people who died from whooping cough in recent years were infants younger than two months.

“When infants get whooping cough they are usually very sick and have difficulty breathing, eating, drinking or sleeping,” Dr. Schuchat said. “Parents may see their baby gasping for air and even turning blue from lack of oxygen.”

Read the full story at nytimes.com


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