Vaccinating mothers against flu 'can help protect newborns'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

A new study has offered evidence that immunising mothers against influenza can be an effective method of protecting newborns against the disease.

The University of Maryland study was the largest ever to look at the impact of maternal vaccination in protecting infants from flu, examining 4,193 pregnant women in Mali, about half of whom received a flu vaccine, with the other half were given a vaccine for meningitis.

“Vaccinating mothers against flu can offer protection against newborns, according to a new study.“

After following the offspring for six months after birth, it was shown that the risk of infants getting flu during the first four months after birth was reduced by 70 percent when the mothers had been immunised.

This fell to 57 percent by five months and disappeared by six months. It represents the first study of its kind to establish how long this protection lasts.

The findings demonstrate that maternal vaccination against influenza is feasible and effective even in one of the least developed countries in the world.

Myron Levine, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said: "These results are an important early step toward implementing maternal immunisation against influenza to protect young infants, and the results are impressively positive."

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