Nearly half of U.S. newborns, new moms at risk of flu, whooping cough hospitalization or death

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning pregnant mothers to get the recommended vaccinations for influenza and whooping cough as the rate of women and newborns being vaccinated drops.

The majority of mothers-to-be have not been vaccinated to reduce the risk of llness and death for themselves and their babies, according to the CDC.

In a new study released Tuesday, 65 percent of women were not vaccinated for the flu and pertussis (whooping cough).

Pregnant women have double the risk of hospitalization compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age who come down with the flu.

Vaccinated pregnant women pass on antibodies to the fetus that provide protection after birth, when babies are too young to get the flu shot.

The CDC recommends that all pregnant women should get a flu vaccine during any trimester of each pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) during the early part of the third trimester of each pregnancy as part of routine prenatal care.

“I want to reinforce that all expectant mothers should be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D. “CDC strongly recommends that health care providers speak with moms-to-be about the benefits of safe Tdap and flu vaccination for their health and the well-being of their babies.”

Babies under six months of age have the highest incidence of influenza-associated hospitalizations and highest risk of influenza-related death among children.