|December 2003 · Vol. 15, No. 12
A realistic vaccination program for all patients, including gravidas
‘Delegate’ is the key to success for this simple screening and vaccination protocol, which uses free forms available online. A detailed chart covers vaccination during pregnancy.
Dr. Gall is professor of obstetrics and gynecology, public health, and information science at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.
Adults, not children, incur a greater risk of death due to vaccine-preventable diseases.
During flu season, almost half of the hospitalizations and deaths for cardiopulmonary conditios in healthy pregnant women are due to influenza.
Screening all gravidas for hepatitis B surface antigen would prevent chronic hepatitis B viral infection in 6,000 neonates every year.
Only 54% of community-dwelling elderly persons are immunized against Streptococcus pneumoniae, which has a 55% to 60% mortality rate in persons aged 70 or older.
Influenza is more likely to cause death in middle-aged persons with multiple medical conditions than in healthy elderly persons.
Because of our unique access to women at all stages of life—who often consult no other physician—Ob/Gyns are well positioned to proclaim and bestow the benefits of vaccination.
For women who are pregnant or planning to conceive, benefits extend to the neonate through the first 4 to 6 months of life. For all women, especially those with coexisting chronic diseases, immunization stands to reduce mortality and serious morbidity.