Press Room

State Health Officials Strongly Encourage Influenza Vaccinations Among Pregnant Women

Arlington, VA (Sept. 13, 2017)—Jay Butler, MD, ASTHO president and chief medical officer for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, released the following statement today regarding the importance of influenza vaccinations for pregnant women:

“As we enter flu season, state and territorial health officials strongly encourage all individuals six months or older to receive an annual influenza vaccination, including pregnant women and older adults. Each year, millions of Americans are affected by the flu and influenza vaccines are vital to reduce the chances of getting sick. Illness from influenza infection can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their developing babies.

A recent report from the ongoing Vaccine Safety Datalink project found that there may be a possible link between miscarriage early in pregnancy and the flu vaccine in women who received a certain version of the vaccine two years in a row. ASTHO and its members are concerned about this potential risk when weighed against other risks, including the risks posed by influenza during pregnancy, and continue to work with national healthcare organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and CDC, to determine whether these new findings should lead to any changes in national recommendations. Given the large volume of data indicating the safety of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, ASTHO and its members support current recommendations for use of vaccines during pregnancy.

This study raises an important question about risk, and an ongoing investigation to study this issue further is recommended. It is also important to note that this study does not prove that flu vaccine was the cause of the miscarriage. Earlier studies have not found a link between flu vaccination and miscarriage. CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women get an influenza vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy because flu poses a danger to pregnant women, and a flu vaccine can prevent influenza in pregnant women which also protects their baby after birth.

State and territorial health departments continue to encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated to be protected from influenza during pregnancy. Immunizations are a vital public health tool and one of the most cost-effective means of public health promotion and disease prevention. Vaccines prevent disease, disability, and death in children and adults.”


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state-based public health practice.