Maternal vaccine reduces influenza in infants

November 1, 2008

The influenza vaccine in pregnant women can decrease risk of influenza in their infants up to 6 months of age and offer protection against febrile respiratory illness in both mothers and infants.

The use of influenza vaccine in pregnant women can decrease the risk of influenza in their infants up to 6 months of age and offer protection against febrile respiratory illness in both mothers and infants, according to research published online Sept. 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Khalequz Zaman, PhD, of the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and colleagues analyzed data from 340 Bangladeshi women in the third trimester of pregnancy, who were randomized to receive inactivated influenza vaccine or 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Mothers were interviewed weekly from birth until the infant was 24 weeks old to assess illnesses. The researchers focused on influenza or influenza-like illness in infants, and respiratory illness and fever in mothers and infants.

The researchers report that the influenza vaccine was associated with a 63% reduction in confirmed influenza illness in infants up to 6 months old, and a 29% and 36% decrease in rates of respiratory illness with fever in infants and mothers, respectively.

Zaman K, Roy E, Arifeen SE, et al. Effectiveness of maternal influenza immunization in mothers and infants. N Engl J Med. 2008;359:1555-1564.