Flu Vaccines Protect Moms and Newborns for Months

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Study into the effectiveness of flu vaccines for pregnant women shows that the protection for moms and their babies is substantial and lasts for months.

Writing a report in the April 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a team lead by Mark C. Steinhoff, MD, director of the Center for Global Child Health, shows the presence of significant levels of flu antibodies in a high proportion of mothers and their newborns. At six-months, follow-up shows that passively acquired protection of type A flu is greater in children of vaccinated mothers than the control groups.

The data Dr. Steinhoff presents is from a prospective, randomized controlled trial of flu vaccine in pregnant women, the Mother’s Gift project. A total of 340 women were given either flu vaccine or a control vaccine.

The tests show effectiveness of the vaccine in developing antibodies against the H1N1, H3N2 and the type B flu strain.

An earlier report of the Mother’s Gift findings were published in the New England Journal in 2008 and showed that influenza vaccine in mothers not only prevents pregnant women from getting influenza but also protects their infants. It was the first study to demonstrate that the inactivated influenza vaccine provides such dual protection. 

Contact Information

Thomas McCormally, 513-636-9682, thomas.mccormally@cchmc.org