Oct 8, 2019

Majority of pregnant women in U.S. aren't vaccinated for flu and whooping cough

Flu vaccine. Photo: Vladimir Gerdo/TASS via Getty Images

A majority — 65% — of pregnant women in the U.S. said they were unvaccinated for influenza and whooping cough, according to a Vital Signs report released on Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Only 9% of women in the U.S. ages 15–44 become pregnant each year. But pregnant women accounted for at least 34% of influenza-related hospitalizations each season between 2010 and 2018. Newborns who contract influenza or whooping cough are at a high risk of hospitalization and death, as they are too young to be vaccinated.

For both vaccines, lack of vaccination coverage affected women with lower socioeconomic status, black women, those who were publicly insured or who lived in the South.

By the numbers:

  • 54% of pregnant women reported getting a flu vaccine before or during pregnancy.
  • Flu vaccination reduces a pregnant woman's risk of hospitalization for their infants younger than 6 months by an average of 72%.
  • Nearly 70% of the babies younger than 2 months old who are hospitalized for whooping cough die.

As part of routine prenatal care, the CDC advises that all pregnant women obtain a flu vaccine during any trimester, and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during the early part of the 3rd trimester.

Expectant mothers hospitalized for infections like the flu, pneumonia and sepsis are at a greater risk of having a child with depression or autism spectrum disorder, a March study published in JAMA Psychiatry reports.

Go deeper: Health officials urge Americans to get flu shots before November

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between police and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the country.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Massive demonstrations put police response to unrest in the spotlight

Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

The response of some officers during demonstrations against police brutality in the U.S. has been criticized for being excessive by some officials and Black Lives Matter leaders.

Why it matters: The situation is tense across the U.S., with reports of protesters looting and burning buildings. While some police have responded with restraint and by monitoring the protests, others have used batons, tear gas, rubber bullets and other devices to disperse protesters and, in some cases, journalists.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protesters

The scene near the 5th police precinct during a demonstration calling for justice for George Floyd in Minneapolis on Saturday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.