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Mom Flu Shot

October 29, 2008

Vaccinating pregnant women against the flu can also protect their newborns.


Flu shots for fetuses…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Babies under six months of age have the highest hospitalization rates for the flu among children in the United States. But a new study shows that mothers who get flu shots during the last three months of pregnancy can protect their newborns. Mark Steinhoff is director of the Children’s Center for Global Health at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He and his colleagues vaccinated pregnant women in Bangladesh and observed them as well as their newborns.

MARK STEINHOFF (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital):
In the infants in the first six months of life, there were 63 percent fewer episodes of influenza. And in the infants and their mothers, there were about a third less — episodes of fever with respiratory symptoms.

Since flu shots aren’t approved for babies under six months, Steinhoff says vaccinating their mothers before birth is an effective way to prevent illness.
I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.