Pregnant Women Should Not Skip Flu Vaccine, Doctors Warn

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – A recent CDC report says less than half of pregnant women in the U.S. got a flu vaccine during the last flu season.

That’s why local health care providers say they want to make sure expectant mothers understand that the flu shot is safe at any stage of pregnancy and while they are breastfeeding.

“And it’s specifically important because we can’t vaccinate infants under six months,” said Dr. Elizabeth Gagnier, a primary care physician with Rochester Regional Health.  “When a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, she is protecting herself as well as her future baby. When the baby is born, they will have protection for the first six months through mom’s antibodies.”

Gagnier says it’s also important for those who are around pregnant women to get the flu vaccine to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.

Hormonal changes in pregnancy put women at risk for complications from the flu, such as pneumonia.