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Flu Vaccine in Pregnancy Reduces Infants’ Infection Risk

Last Updated: October 05, 2010.

Women who receive a seasonal influenza vaccination while pregnant may be sparing their infants from risk of influenza, influenza-like illness, and related hospitalization, according to research published online Oct. 4 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

TUESDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Women who receive a seasonal influenza vaccination while pregnant may be sparing their infants from risk of influenza, influenza-like illness (ILI), and related hospitalization, according to research published online Oct. 4 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Angelia A. Eick, Ph.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues followed 1,169 mother-infant pairs, in which the babies were born during one of three flu seasons, to determine the effect of seasonal flu vaccination during pregnancy on influenza in infants 6 months of age or younger. They included 1,160 mother-infant pairs in their analysis.

The researchers found that the ILI incidence rates for infants born to unvaccinated and vaccinated women were 7.2 and 6.7 per 1,000 person-days, respectively. Infants born to influenza-vaccinated women had a 41 percent lower risk of influenza, and a 39 percent lower risk of hospitalization for ILI compared with infants born to unvaccinated women. Hemagglutinin inhibition antibody titers at birth and at 2 and 3 months of age were significantly higher in infants born to vaccinated mothers.

"Maternal influenza vaccination was significantly associated with reduced risk of influenza virus infection and hospitalization for an ILI up to 6 months of age and increased influenza antibody titers in infants through 2 to 3 months of age," the authors write.

The study was sponsored in part by Aventis-Pasteur and Evans-Powderject; one author reported serving on an advisory committee for Sanofi-Pasteur and having financial relationships with MedImmune and Pfizer, all of which manufacture influenza vaccine.

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