Influenza vaccination during pregnancy protects newborns

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Infants born to mothers who received the influenza (flu) vaccine while pregnant are nearly 50 percent less likely to be hospitalized for influenza than infants born to mothers who did not receive the vaccine while pregnant, according to a new collaborative study by researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends influenza vaccination for anyone older than 6 months of age, but specifically singles out target groups, including pregnant women, who have a greater risk of influenza-related complications.

“It is recommended that all pregnant women receive the influenza vaccine during pregnancy because it is known that pregnant women have increased morbidity and mortality during pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum period if they get the flu,” said Katherine A. Poehling, M.D., MPH., an associate professor of pediatrics and lead author on the study. “We also know that mothers pass antibodies through the placenta to the baby. This study showed us that receiving the influenza vaccine during pregnancy not only protects the mother, but also protects the baby in the early months of life.”

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