Infants have a much lower risk of getting influenza when their mothers are vaccinated against the virus during pregnancy, a U.S. study confirms.
Doctors recommend flu vaccinations for pregnant women because the virus is linked to complications like preterm births, and because it helps protect babies from catching the flu before they’re able to get vaccinated at six months of age.
Before six months, babies born to vaccinated mothers were about 64 percent less likely to have flu symptoms and 70 percent less likely to have confirmed infections than infants born to women who didn’t get vaccinated during pregnancy, the study found.
“This large study provides more evidence that when women are immunized against influenza during pregnancy, their infants are much less likely to be diagnosed with influenza in their first six months of life,” said lead study author Dr. Julie Shakib, of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
But overall, just 10 percent of mothers reported getting the flu vaccine during pregnancy, the study also found.