- Flu is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus.
- Pregnant women are at a higher risk of having serious complications of influenza infection with poor vaccination rate.
- Doctors and health care professionals must improve vaccine coverage by enhancing maternal education.
Physicians and health care professionals are still doubtful in administering flu vaccines to pregnant women despite potential life-saving benefits, finds a study from the University of British Columbia.
Flu is a respiratory infection which is commonly caused by the influenza virus. Around one billion cases of flu is noted globally. Symptoms like high fever, chills, cough, sore throat and tiredness are common with the flu.
‘Health care professionals are hesitant in giving flu vaccines for pregnant women, despite potential benefits.’
Marie Tarrant, director of nursing at UBC's Okanagan Campus said, "The World Health Organization and Health Canada have classified pregnant women as one of the highest at-risk groups of having serious complications following influenza infection."
"Given this, the health-care community should work together to protect these moms and their infants. Flu vaccination is one of the best ways."
The research team has recently assessed the effect of the brief vaccination program in pregnant women and the study was conducted in Hong Kong were flu is quite common and vaccination rates are low.
Researchers found one- to -one education interventions have substantially increased the vaccination rates but yet the uptake was low as some physicians were not willing to administer vaccines or there is no proper availability for medicines.
Tarrant says, "Even with the knowledge of benefits of vaccination, there still is this long-held belief that pregnant women should minimize exposing the fetus to any unknown substance, especially those injected into the body," "I believe this reluctance is common worldwide."
"Targeted interventions to health-care professionals and enhanced maternal education may help to address concerns and fears about flu vaccination, and lead to optimal and improved vaccination coverage."