Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Mother's Shot Protects Newborns

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Mother's Shot Protects Newborns

Article excerpt

Newborns can be protected from the seasonal flu when their mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers observed a 63% reduction in proven influenza illness among infants born to vaccinated mothers, while the number of serious respiratory illnesses to both mothers and infants dropped by 36%. The study is the first to demonstrate that the inactivated influenza vaccine provides protection to both mother and newborn. The findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The inactivated influenza vaccine (the flu shot) is not licensed for infants younger than six months. The alternative nasal flu vaccine is not available for children under age 2. The flu shot has been recommended for pregnant women in the United States since 1997, although only approximately 15% of pregnant women are vaccinated each year. "Even though there is no flu vaccine for these children, our study shows that a newborn's risk of infection can be greatly reduced by vaccinating [the] mom during pregnancy. …

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