Fighting the Flu for Two

Vaccinated pregnant women prevents flu-hospitalizations in infants

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Vaccinating a pregnant woman against influenza is more than 90 percent effective in preventing their infants from being hospitalized with influenza during the first six months of life.

A three-year study from the Yale School of Medicine finds that preventive approaches to ward off flu in infants includes general infection control and vaccination of those coming in close contact with them since flu vaccines are not approved for this age group.

Researchers looked at infants hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital because of influenza and a similar group of infants without the flu. They found in the group of infants who didn't have influenza, far more mothers received the influenza vaccine.
"In the group of infants studied, giving the vaccine to a woman during pregnancy was 91.5 percent effective in preventing hospitalization due to influenza," according to senior author Marietta Vazquez, M.D.

The strategy is effective for combating infections in newborns since a vaccine is not available for them. The vaccination is cost-effective to boot, considering it protects two individuals.

More than 20,000 children less than 5 years old are hospitalized due to flu each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Of these children, infants less than 6 months old are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, but cannot get a vaccine or antiviral drugs.

According to the National Women's Health Resource Center, about 92 children die from flu complications each year in the U.S.

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Review Date: 
January 10, 2011
Last Updated:
January 11, 2011