Flu vaccination in pregnancy found to be effective in immunising babies

A study has shown that having the influenza vaccine during pregnancy can prevent infection in babies, even when the dominant circulating strain is different from that in the vaccine.

Pregnant woman receives flu vaccine

Having an influenza vaccination during pregnancy helps to prevent infection and influenza-related admission to hospital in babies, a study funded by Public Health England has found[1]

The study, published in The Journal of infectious diseases
 (9 November 2019), showed the vaccine to be effective even when the main circulating strain differed from that in the vaccine.

Researchers used the screening method to estimate vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed influenza in infants in England, using uptake data from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink pregnancy register, matched on week of birth and region and adjusted for ethnicity.

The study found that vaccines were 66% effective (95% confidence interval [CI] 18–84%) in the 2013/2014 season, and 50% (95% CI 11–72%) effective in 2014/2015, with similar effectiveness against influenza-related admission to hospital.

Vaccine effectiveness against the dominant circulating influenza strain was higher, at 78% (95% CI 16–94%) effective against H1N1 in 2013/2014, and 60% (95% CI 16–81%) effective against H3N2 in 2014/2015, the study showed.

Commenting on the findings, the researchers said: “Our results over two influenza seasons provide further evidence that giving inactivated influenza vaccine to pregnant women is effective against laboratory-confirmed influenza infection and resulting hospitalisations in their young infants, even in a season with circulation of a drifted strain.”


[1] Walker J, Zhao H, Dabrera G et al. Assessment of effectiveness of seasonal influenza saccination during pregnancy in preventing influenza infection in ifants in England, 2013–2014 and 2014–2015. J Infect Dis 2019. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz310



Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Flu vaccination in pregnancy found to be effective in immunising babies;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20207393

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