The Maximization of Vaccinations
(PhysOrg.com) -- How does vaccinating pregnant women against influenza affect their babies' health? That's what researcher Saad Omer wants to know.
Omer is an infectious disease epidemiologist and an assistant professor of global health at Rollins School of Public Health.
So far, he and his colleagues are finding a stream of evidence indicating that immunizing mothers-to-be protects their newborns from contracting the flu. Newborns are highly vulnerable to infection; yet, there is no approved influenza vaccine for infants younger than six months. What’s more, flu immunizations reduce disease in the mothers as well.
“We demonstrated there was about a 62% reduction in infant disease if you vaccinated their moms,” says Omer. “This is one of the highest magnitudes of indirect impact if you give it to mom.”
Omer and his colleagues also found that women were more likely to deliver heavier babies, a sign of good health, and less likely to deliver premature infants if the mothers were immunized.