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Medical News & Perspectives
December 15, 2010

Mothers Take Physicians’ Advice on Vaccines

JAMA. 2010;304(23):2577-2578. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1785

Women are more likely to get a pertussis vaccination for their infants or a prenatal flu shot for themselves if a physician has advised them to do so and provides them with information, according to a pair of studies presented at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) meeting in October. The findings suggest a simple recommendation from a physician can have a powerful effect on vaccination rates.

In 2009, there were nearly 17 000 reported cases of pertussis, including 14 deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cases have been rising among US teens and infants since the 1980s, according to the agency, and some scientists have suggested that parents refusing to vaccinate themselves or their children may be driving the increase. Currently, the CDC recommends that infants and young children receive a 5-dose series of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) and that adults receive boosters of the tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine every 10 years. The CDC is also encouraging vaccination for mothers of young infants and other close contacts of these children to help protect these childrene until they are fully vaccinated.