Lisa Schnirring, writing for CIDRAP News, has the details on a new study tonight that shows that babies born to mothers who received the flu vaccination experienced fewer infections and hospitalizations during their first six months than babies whose mothers did not.
If all this sounds just a bit familiar, you may recall we had a similar study about two years ago out of Bangladesh (see CIDRAP’s Study: Flu shots in pregnant women benefit newborns) that offered pretty much the same conclusion.
While pregnant women are understandably leery of taking any kind of drug or medication, the evidence continues to show that flu vaccines are very safe and provide substantial benefits.
This from CIDRAP.
Lisa Schnirring Staff Writer
Oct 4, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – In a study that could help bolster seasonal flu vaccination levels in pregnant women, researchers who monitored newborns over three flu seasons found that babies born to vaccinated mothers had lower risks of infections and hospitalizations and had higher antibody levels during their first few months of life.
The study was conducted from November 2002 to September 2005 in the US southwest at the Navajo and White Mountain Apache reservations, where rates of acute respiratory infection in children are higher than in the general US population. The findings appear in an early online edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.
The study appears in the online edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. A few excerpts from the abstract:
Angelia A. Eick, PhD; Timothy M. Uyeki, MD, MPH, MPP; Alexander Klimov, PhD; Henrietta Hall, MS; Raymond Reid, MD; Mathuram Santosham, MD; Katherine L. O’Brien, MD, MPH
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Published online October 4, 2010. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.192
Objective To assess the effect of seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancy on laboratory-confirmed influenza in infants to 6 months of age.
Participants A total of 1169 mother-infant pairs with mothers who delivered an infant during 1 of 3 influenza seasons.
Conclusions 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.
There is also a press release:
Babies whose mothers who receive influenza vaccines while pregnant appear less likely to be infected with flu or hospitalized for respiratory illnesses in their first six months of life, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the February 2011 print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Young children are consistently at higher risk of complications from infection with the influenza virus, according to background information in the article. However, they are ineligible to be vaccinated until age 6 months. "Influenza virus infection in infants is generally more frequent among those aged 6 to 12 months than in the first six months of life, potentially owing to the protection conferred by maternal influenza antibodies acquired transplacentally or through breastfeeding," the authors write. "However, during severe influenza seasons, morbidity and mortality rates among infants younger than 6 months have been reported to exceed those of older infants."