The flu (influenza) and whooping cough (pertussis) infection in infants can lead to serious illness and even death, particularly in very young babies. Infants cannot receive vaccines for these diseases themselves until they are several months old, but immunizing women during pregnancy can provide temporary protection against these diseases for the first few months of a baby’s life.
Even though the CDC recommends all pregnant women receive vaccines for the flu and whooping cough, not all women do so. We do not know what maternal immunization coverage is currently in American Indian communities, and American Indian infants have higher rates of infant hospitalization for pneumonia and whooping cough than the general US.
About the ‘Evaluating Maternal Immunization Study’
The Evaluating Maternal Immunization (EMI) Study wants to understand how American Indian women and other community stakeholders feel about vaccines in pregnancy (also called ‘maternal immunization’), so that we may address any concerns or questions and increase awareness about these important interventions.
We also want to learn about components of successful immunization programs in these communities and help remind providers to discuss and administer these vaccines to pregnant women. What we learn within this study may be able to help more women throughout IHS and the US receive these vaccines during pregnancy.
The overarching goal of this project is to protect more women and infants from these vaccine-preventable diseases.
The EMI study engages multiple stakeholders in the communities where we work
The EMI study will conduct surveys, in-depth interviews and group discussions with pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and their partners/husbands, grandparents, elders, and health care providers including nurses, midwives, physicians, and traditional practitioners.
We will then design materials to increase awareness of the benefits of maternal immunization and address any questions the community may have.
The study is being supported by Johns Hopkins, the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).