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CDC warns not enough pregnant women get flu and Tdap vaccines

The CDC says nearly half of U.S. newborns and new moms are at risk of the flu or whooping cough, hospitalization or death.

Doctors with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging pregnant moms to get their flu shot and Tdap vaccine after a new report revealed 65 percent of expectant women haven't gotten them. 

According to the CDC, the two vaccines reduce the risks of the flu and whooping cough in pregnant moms and their newborn babies.

When expectant women are vaccinated, they pass on antibodies to the fetus. The antibodies provide protection after birth, a crucial time because those babies are too young to be vaccinated. If a newborn does get the flu or whooping cough, they are at a high risk of hospitalization or death.

Two thirds (67 percent) of babies younger than 2 months old who get whooping cough need care in the hospital. Sadly, 7 out of 10 whooping cough deaths (69 percent) occur in this age group.

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Pregnant women also need the added protection as they are more likely to develop severe cases of the flu and end up in the hospital.

The CDC study showed that getting a flu shot reduces a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized for the flu by an average of 40 percent.

The CDC recommends all pregnant women get the flu vaccine during any trimester and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during the early part of the third trimester.

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