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ACOG: Pregnant Women Should Get Flu Vaccine Early

Committee recommends vaccine regardless of gestational age

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Replacing a committee opinion published in 2004, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has released a new report from the Committee on Obstetric Practice supporting influenza vaccination during pregnancy. The new opinion has been published in the October issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice recommends influenza vaccination for all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season. No study to date has shown any adverse effect of inactivated influenza vaccine on either mother or child, according to the new report. The Committee on Obstetric Practice supports the CDC recommendation, adding that preventing influenza infection during pregnancy is critical.

Specifically, the Committee recommends vaccination early in the influenza season, which runs from October through May in the United States, without regard to gestational age at the time of vaccination. An unvaccinated pregnant women presenting late in the season should still be encouraged to get the vaccine.

"Pregnant women represent a vulnerable population with regard to influenza, and influenza vaccination is an integral element of prenatal care," the authors write. "It is imperative that health care providers, health care organizations, and public health officials continue efforts to improve the rate of influenza vaccination among pregnant women."

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