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Flu Shot in Pregnancy Protects Baby
Date:10/30/2009

got flu shots and hospitalization rates for those infants.

The researchers found that the mother's flu shot during pregnancy was 78.9 percent effective in preventing her non-vaccinated infant from being hospitalized during the first year of life and 85.3 percent effective in preventing hospitalization from infancy to 6 months.

"These results will have a positive impact, not only on susceptible infants, but will prove to be cost- effective," Vazquez said. "If you think about this, we are talking about one vaccine protecting two individuals."

In another report, a team led by Dr. Mark C. Steinhoff, director of the Global Health Center at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, looked at the relationship between flu shots and birth weight in Bangladesh.

Women who were vaccinated were 30 percent less likely to develop respiratory illness with fever, and those women had substantially heavier infants than unvaccinated women, the researchers found. The study confirmed that pregnant women who get the flu are at risk for giving birth to significantly underweight babies.

In addition, flu among infants whose mothers were vaccinated was reduced 63 percent, Steinhoff said.

"It shows again that when you prevent flu in a pregnant woman, you benefit the mother, you benefit the infant, and we think this also shows that you benefit the fetus and the growth of the fetus," he said.

In yet another study of pregnant women in Bangladesh, Emily Henkle, from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, wanted to determine the rate of flu infection in their infants.

Henkle, part of Steinhoff's team, found high rates of flu among infants younger than 6 months whose mothers had not been vaccinated.

"In the first six months of life, in this setting, in the tropics, 25 percent of the infants had flu infection," Steinhoff said. "It's a higher rate of infection tha
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