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Taking the Flu Vaccine For the Baby and Me

Date: 05.02.2012
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar Phone: (330) 375-4930

SAN DIEGO, Cali., May 2, 2012 – There’s much for a pregnant woman to do in the exciting nine months leading up to her delivery. Picking out baby names, painting the nursery…getting a flu shot? With the advent of the H1N1 flu and its corresponding vaccine, the general public is becoming more aware of the importance of vaccination, especially in young adults and pregnant women, according to researchers at Summa Health System.

“We’re pleased to see that the majority of postpartum women in a community hospital-setting chose to receive the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu vaccine in the 2009 and 2010 season, significantly more than in the past season,” said Amy Burkett, M.D., of Summa Health System. “Most women in this population feel that the vaccines are safe in pregnancy, and protective immunity is passed to the fetus.”

Summa researchers distributed a standardized survey to postpartum women at Summa Akron City Hospital over a six-week period. The survey assessed the proportion of postpartum women who received the seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine in the 2009-2010 season in comparison to the seasonal flu vaccine in the 2008-2009 season. Researchers also evaluated patient rationale for choosing whether to get vaccinated, perception of vaccine safety and perception on passive fetal immunity.

Sixty-one percent of the participants stated that they have received the seasonal flu vaccine this
year, up from 47% the previous year (p=0.007). The most common reason patients chose to receive the vaccine was physician or nurse recommendation (66%) and the most common reasons women chose not to receive it was due to other reasons (41%) concern over side effects (22%) and feeling the vaccine was unsafe (18%). Of the patients who did not receive the vaccine last year, 46% opted to receive it this year; the majority (67%) stating it was due to physician or nurse recommendation. Most women felt the vaccine was safe in pregnancy (83%) and that a protective effect was conveyed to the fetus (65%). Sixty-four percent of the women stated that they received the H1N1 vaccine, the majority (63%) doing so due to physician or nurse recommendation. This was also a significant increase from last year’s flu vaccinations
(p=0.001). The most common reasons women chose not to receive the H1N1 vaccination were  due to feeling the vaccine was unsafe (31%) and concern over side effects (29%). Most women felt the vaccine was safe in pregnancy (67%) and that some protective immunity was passed to the fetus (63%).

The research titled “Patient Perspectives of Flu Vaccination and H1N1 Vaccination in Pregnancy,” was selected for a poster presentation at the 60th Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in San Diego from May 5 to 9. Anita Tamirisa D.O., Shruti Malik M.D., and Amy Burkett, M.D., are authors.

The poster will be on display from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on May 8 in Exhibit Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center at station 38. A representative from Summa will be available to answer questions or interviews can be arranged before, after or during the conference with the authors.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at