CDC urges pregnant women to get the flu shot

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -  Not enough pregnant women are getting the flu shot, and it's putting themselves, their babies and the public at risk, according to a new report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC released a report that said nearly half of pregnant women skipped the flu shot last year. Experts surveyed more than 2,000 expecting moms between August 2018 and April of this year.

"It is very important that pregnant women get the flu vaccine because the vaccine crosses over to the fetus, giving the fetus immunity from the flu," said Therese DeSanto, clinical manager at Sentara Independence ER.

DeSanto stresses that infants less than 6 months shouldn't get the flu vaccine, furthering the importance for mom to get it.

"Pregnant women also need to get the vaccine because their immune system is more at risk, their system is taxed," said DeSanto.

The CDC said if pregnant women choose not to get the flu shot, their risk of hospitalization increases by 40 percent.

"They may have a harder time recovering and may develop pneumonia," she explained.

DeSanto says they haven't seen any cases in the ER departments yet, but she stressed the symptoms: "Cough, fever, body aches and stuffy nose."

If you need a flu shot, Sentara CarePlex in Hampton is hosting a free community day on October 26 from 10a a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes flu shots while supplies last.

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