Friday, December 17, 2010

Vaccinating pregnant women reduced newborn influenza hospitalizations

Influenza vaccine administered during pregnancy was 91.5% effective in preventing hospitalizations among infant offspring younger than 6 months, new research shows.

Marietta Vázquez, MD, and colleagues from the Yale University School of Medicine conducted a matched case-control study to determine whether vaccinating expecting mothers really is an effective strategy to protect infants too young to be vaccinated. The results were published in the Dec. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Disease.

The researchers found that only 2.2% of mothers (n=91) whose children had laboratory-confirmed influenza during the study period (2000-2009) received the influenza vaccine during pregnancy vs. 19.9% of mothers (n=158) whose children did not get sick with virus.

“These results have great clinical relevance, because they provide a strategy to confer protection to young infants at high risk for the disease and for whom no vaccine is currently available,” the researchers wrote.

They added that it might also motivate pregnant women, who are susceptible to severe forms of the disease, to comply with current vaccine recommendations.

Both the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated, but uptake rates remain poor and administration varies widely across health care providers.

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