Half (50.3%) of women who were pregnant at any time from October 2014 through January 2015 received influenza vaccination before or during pregnancy, according to responses from 1,702 participants in an Internet panel survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccination rates for pregnant women during the 2014-15 flu season are similar to rates over the past few years, with 52.2% getting vaccinated in 2013-14 season, 50.5% in 2012-13, and 46.4% in 2011-12. Vaccination coverage, however, was substantially higher when a physician or other health care provider offered the vaccine.

Of the 64.9% of women who received a vaccination offer, 67.9% chose to get the influenza vaccination. Among the 14.8% of survey participants whose health care provider recommended vaccination but didn’t offer it, 33.5% got vaccinated. And of the 20.3% of patients who didn’t receive a recommendation for the influenza vaccination, 8.5% got the vaccine.

“Even among women who reported negative attitudes regarding influenza vaccine efficacy or safety, or were not concerned about influenza infection, coverage was higher among those whose provider recommended and offered vaccination than among women with the same belief who reported only receiving a provider recommendation or receiving no recommendation,” Dr. Helen Ding and her colleagues wrote in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2015 Sept. 18;64[36];1000-5.).

Negative attitudes about safety and efficacy were the most common reasons that study participants rejected the flu vaccination, with 17.2% saying that they didn’t think the vaccination was effective, 14.5% saying that they were worried about the possible safety risks to their baby, and 13.6% expressing concern that the vaccination would give them the flu.

“Efforts are needed to improve influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women. Interventions should include implementing clinic-based education to ensure access to information about influenza vaccine safety and efficacy and the risk for influenza for pregnant women and their infants, and systems to ensure that providers recommend and offer influenza vaccination to all pregnant women,” the researchers wrote.

Read the full article in MMWR.