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UVA doctors encourage pregnant women to get flu vaccine

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 12:03 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - UVA doctors encourage timely flu vaccination. They have guidance as to when expecting mothers should get the shot to reduce complications during pregnancy.

“Typically, October and November are sort of our target months trying to get everybody vaccinated,” said Dr. Jennifer Doorey, UVA OB/GYN.

In 2020, flu cases were slim due to COVID-19 guidelines.

“We had record numbers of people vaccinated against the flu last season and it would be great if we can do that or even better this season, just to prevent people from getting sick from the flu at the same time that we have COVID circulating,” infectious disease specialist, Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley said.

Dr. Doorey and Dr. Shirley say skipping out on the flu shot can lead to premature births, lower birth weight babies, and a possible need for cesarean sections.

“It’s important to remember that babies, we actually don’t vaccinate them against the flu until about 6 months of age,” Dr. Shirley said.

Pregnant mothers who get the shot pass on healthy antibodies to their babies, creating a loop hole for infants to become protected.

“Millions of doses of the vaccine have been given to moms during pregnancy and it really has an excellent safety profile,” Dr. Shirley said.

Mothers who are expecting, looking to become pregnant, or recently delivered need the shot most according to both UVA experts.

“All three of those categories put you at higher risk for complications if you get the seasonal influenza,” Dr. Doorey said.

Previously, people were told to leave two weeks between flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We now have enough data on both the Coronavirus vaccine and the flu vaccine. We feel very comfortable giving them on the same day,” Dr. Doorey said.

This also applies to pregnant mothers.

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