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Obstetric Health Workers May Discourage Flu Vaccine

In another study, prophylactic antivirals found cost-effective in pregnant women after exposure

THURSDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Many obstetric health care workers may have negative attitudes toward flu vaccinations during pregnancy, and the prophylactic use of influenza antivirals in pregnant women after exposure to an infected individual appears cost-effective during a pandemic, according to two studies in the November Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Darcy E. Broughton, of the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues analyzed survey data from 267 obstetric health care workers, including nurses, nursing assistants, and receptionists. Nearly one-third did not agree that vaccines are safe and effective for decreasing infections, and 36 percent believed vaccines are safe in pregnancy. Slightly more than half knew that pregnant women are at higher risk of influenza complications, and 65.3 percent would recommend vaccination to a pregnant woman if indicated.

Bruce Y. Lee, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues analyzed data from a computer simulation model to assess the economic effect of antiviral medications for prophylaxis in hypothetical pregnant women exposed to an infectious individual during seasonal and pandemic influenza situations. This use of antivirals was highly cost-effective in a variety of pandemic influenza scenarios. However, antiviral prophylaxis was not found to be cost-effective for seasonal influenza.

"Data suggest that we cannot rely on patients to be informed about vaccination during pregnancy. The task of educating patients thus belongs to the health care team. This presents a problem when so many are unaware of the risks of influenza to pregnant women and have misconceptions about vaccine safety and efficacy," Broughton and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Broughton
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Full Text - Lee

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