DPH Promotes Prenatal Vaccinations As National Immunization Awareness Month BeginsIn recognition of National Immunization Awareness month (NIAM), the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reminds the public of the importance that immunizations play in protecting people’s health. Vaccines are considered the most effective and often safest ways to protect people from many life threatening diseases. They are important in all stages of life: before birth, infancy, childhood, and adulthood. The first week of this annual event (August 5-11th) focuses on raising awareness of the importance of pregnant women receiving key vaccines to promote optimum health for them and their babies.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women receive these two key vaccines: Tdap vaccine for pertussis (also called whooping cough) and Influenza (Flu). Whooping cough along with the Flu can be life threatening for mother and baby. Prenatal vaccines protect both mother and unborn baby, reducing potentially severe complications including hospitalization. Antibodies from the mother are also passed on to the unborn baby, which provide protection for several months after birth. This protection is critical since infants under 6 months are too young to get a flu vaccine.
“Getting recommended vaccines during pregnancy is the best way to protect both mother and baby from serious illnesses,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “I encourage pregnant women to talk to their ob-gyn or midwife about these important vaccines to promote a healthy pregnancy for both mother and child.”
The CDC also recommends that women considering pregnancy should confirm with their medical provider their measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine history or immunity. Rubella can cause serious problems, including pregnancy complications and birth defects therefore getting this vaccine prior to becoming pregnant is critical as the vaccine is not given once pregnant.
For more information about immunizations visit the CDC or www.ct.gov/dph/immunizations