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Flu Shots & Pregnancy

March 4, 2016

Flu shots protect pregnant women – and their babies.



Jack Fussell

(Photo Credit: Jack Fussell/flickr)

The flu shot’s double punch. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Pregnant women who come down with the flu suffer from complication rates comparable to those of senior citizens. Fortunately, the flu shot is safe during pregnancy, and it not only helps protect women, but their infants as well. Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist William Schaffner explains.

WILLIAM SCHAFFNER (Vanderbilt University):

Her protection will cross the placenta and protect the newborn baby during those first 6 months of life when the baby cannot itself be vaccinated. You get a healthier pregnancy, and you’ll also protect that newborn.


Schaffner says the flu is a serious illness: it causes about 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, often due to secondary complications such as pneumonia. And 40% of young children who die from flu-related conditions have no underlying medical conditions. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.