Flu in Babies

February 26, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: Does influenza vaccination during pregnancy affect the baby’s risk for becoming ill with the flu?

The Study: The influenza immunization status of 245,386 pregnant women was determined for the period from December, 2005 through March, 2015. The incidence of influenza-like illnesses, laboratory-confirmed influenza, and hospitalizations for influenza during the baby’s first six month of life was determined for the 249,387 infants in the study. 

The Results: Of the 866 infants with one or more incident of influenza-like illness, 32 were born to women who had received the flu shot and 834 to women who didn’t. Of the 658 infants with laboratory-confirmed influenza, 20 had immunized mothers and 638 were born to unimmunized women. A total of 151 infants were hospitalized for the flu. Three were born to women who were immunized and 148 to women who weren’t.

Comment: This study should convince any skeptic of the value of the flu shot – that it does work. We don’t know if there are other factors that may help protect the infant, such as paternal and family immunization rates. It may be safe to assume that in families where the pregnant women are immunized, other family members were also immunized.

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