Data to Action Success Story: Mississippi


Educating Mississippi Women and Health Care Providers about Influenza Vaccination during Pregnancy

Problem Overview

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend seasonal influenza vaccination for pregnant women during all trimesters. Pregnant women are a vulnerable population during flu season, because influenza infection can cause severe disease during pregnancy. Misconceptions, myths, and mixed messages may prevent some pregnant women from getting needed vaccinations. Timely surveillance data, along with clear and correct communication, is vital for educating women and providers on the importance of receiving influenza vaccinations during pregnancy.  The Mississippi Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (MS PRAMS) collected data on influenza vaccine coverage during the 2009 – 2010 influenza season.

Program Activity Description

A set of supplemental questions on influenza vaccination was added to the MS PRAMS survey to examine seasonal and 2009 H1N1 influenza (flu) vaccination coverage. Women were asked if their health care provider recommended the flu shot during their pregnancy, if they received the flu shot, and, if they did not receive the flu shot, why not.  Information collected on the MS PRAMS supplement was included in a December 2010 MMWR for the 2009 – 2010 flu season data.

Following the successful collection of influenza vaccination data among pregnant women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) PRAMS collaborated with the Georgia Health Policy Center at Georgia State University to develop educational briefs for health care providers and pregnant women.  A template brief was developed for each audience, and each PRAMS state could select one of the templates to customize with data from their state.  MS PRAMS selected the provider brief, and the final product was sent to MS PRAMS in October 2011.

The brief for health care providers was well received by the state’s Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist and other staff at the MS Department of Health.  With support from the MS Director of Women’s Health and the Director and MS Program Nurse from the Immunization Program, MS PRAMS created a similar brief designed specifically for pregnant women in an effort to increase awareness and promote vaccination intake among this vulnerable population.

Program Activity Outcomes

The MS PRAMS Project worked closely with the MS Office of Women’s Health and the Immunization Program to create a plan for successfully disseminating the analytic results of the 2009-2010 flu data. The following outcomes were achieved:

  • The MS Office of Women’s Health and Immunization Program made policy changes to incorporate PRAMS data in their flu vaccination promotion plan.
  • These programs decided to allocate funds for a massive state-wide dissemination of the educational flu briefs to private health care providers, health care centers, health departments, and other community organizations that work with pregnant women. Both programs also published the briefs on their websites.
  • The MS Immunization program is exploring the possibility of allocating funding to give pregnant women free or reduced flu shots.

MS PRAMS included influenza vaccination questions on the core PRAMS survey, starting in 2012, and will be able to assess changes in flu vaccination coverage among pregnant women over time. Future results will be shared with agency program partners and with health care providers in Mississippi.