ACNM is working with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve vaccination rates in women. ASTHO is a non-profit organization representing public health agencies and professionals, while promoting excellence in public health practice. The project involves producing a resource of materials that midwives can use to educate women about immunizations.
In December 2013, we requested members participate in a survey about vaccines. This initial survey was used to develop materials for midwives, including talking points, and materials for women and their families. About 940 members responded to the survey. Over 80% of the respondents reported that they either screen or provide immunizations to their clients. The biggest information needs identified by the survey include lack of knowledge of the safety of immunizations, talking points for clients, contraindications/indications, updates on the schedule, and the state Immunization Information Systems. Barriers for those not offering immunizations were reimbursement, not enough interested patients, and not enough storage space. This project hopes to address these needs.
Following the dissemination of ACNM’s influenza and immunization project materials, ACNM members were surveyed a second time in order to gauge the effectiveness of the resources and to gain further insights to improve immunization uptake among women. The final survey was sent out to ACNM members in June of 2014. The results have been analyzed and are being used to target specific gaps and guide the development of future resources.
Each vaccine has rigorous clinical trials before it can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Clinical safety studies have been conducted for decades on vaccines and pregnancy, and although there are risks with vaccines as with any medication or procedure, studies have shown that immunization during pregnancy protects the woman, the fetus, and the newborn, and that the chance of serious harm is small. Side effects vary by vaccine, but the chance of severe side effects is less than the complications from getting the disease. The March of Dimes, FDA, CDC, NIH, AAP, IOM and the WHO all confirm the safety of vaccines.
The resources below will assist you in providing immunizations to your clients: