Vaccinating Pregnant Women Against the Flu Protects their Infants
Infants born to pregnant women vaccinated against the flu during pregnancy are significantly less likely to have flu-like illnesses. The study, “Influenza in Infants Born to Women Vaccinated During Pregnancy,” appearing in the June 2016 issue of Pediatrics (published online May 3) examined the vaccination status of 245,386 women and rates of flu-like illnesses in their 249,387 infants. The authors report a 64 percent risk reduction for flu-like illnesses, a 70 percent reduction in laboratory-confirmed influenza, and an 81 percent decrease for influenza hospitalizations during the first six months of life for these infants. In addition, the authors report that 97 percent of all lab-confirmed influenza cases occurred in infants born to women who did not report getting a flu vaccine during pregnancy. They conclude that the study strengthens evidence that vaccinating pregnant women provides flu protection to infants during their vulnerable first six month of life when they are not old enough to receive the flu vaccine themselves and should be a public health priority.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.