Vaccination against influenza in pregnant women
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Pregnancy places otherwise healthy women at an increased risk of complications arising from an influenza infection. It is suggested that physiological changes such as immunological changes, increased cardiac output and oxygen consumption, as well as lung tidal volume might increase the susceptibility to influenza complications if infection occurs during pregnancy. Immunization of pregnant women against influenza is currently recommended in many countries and has been proven to be safe and effective in reducing rates and severity of the disease in vaccinated mothers and their children. Influenza vaccination is also cost-effective. Nevertheless, influenza vaccine coverage remains low in pregnant women. This might stem from the lack of healthcare workers' education, a feeling among the general public that influenza is not a serious disease and a failure of prenatal care providers to offer the vaccine. In order to protect pregnant women and infants from influenza related morbidity and mortality an educational programme targeting healthcare workers in charge of pregnant women should be implemented.
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