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Influenza

Vaccination during pregnancy protects infants against flu

In children born to women given the flu vaccination during pregnancy, the risk of influenza is much lower.

Vaccinating babies against influenza in the first six months of life is not effective. Passive protection via maternal immunisation may offer an alternative but there has been little research on this. 

Researchers from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City studied the medical records of 245,386 women and their 249,387 children born between December 2005 and March 2014. Overall, 866 infants up to the age of six months had influenza-like illness. However, the risk was reduced by 64% in children born to women vaccinated during pregnancy. The risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza and influenza-related hospitalisation were reduced by 70% and 81%, respectively. 

The researchers note that the rate of vaccination during pregnancy increased from 2.2% before the H1N1 pandemic to 21.0% following the H1N1 pandemic. However, the rate remains suboptimal and should be a public health priority, they conclude in Pediatrics (2016;137(6):e20152360)[1].

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20201104

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