"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Flu vaccines for pregnant women protect their newborns

January 25, 2024 – When pregnant women get the flu vaccine, their newborns are less prone to need emergency care or be hospitalized for the flu, in response to a brand new study.

Seven hospitals across the country studied how flu vaccinations given to pregnant women protect their babies, who can't be vaccinated against flu until they're six months old.

According to the CDCResearchers found that vaccinating moms reduced emergency room visits by 20% and hospitalizations by 40% for infants younger than 6 months. Vaccination of pregnant women also reduced the chance of babies under 6 months of getting the flu by a 3rd.

“The flu vaccination during pregnancy is safe and protects both pregnant women and their infants,” the statement said CDC wrote.

According to John Williams, MD, of UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, one in all the participating hospitals, only half of pregnant women receive the flu shot.

“I think it's natural for pregnant mothers to always be worried about everything they're putting into their bodies – what they're eating, what they're drinking,” Williams told CBS News' KDKA in Pittsburgh. “What we know about flu shots is that the flu vaccine has been roughly the same for about 50 years, and so we have a lot of evidence that it is very safe during pregnancy. It is not associated with premature birth or negative consequences for the mother or the baby. It is very safe and effective.

The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

“The results of this study suggest that maternal influenza vaccination during pregnancy provided important protection for the infant in the first few months of life, before infants become eligible for vaccination,” the authors write.