Pregnant moms + flu vaccine + newborns

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  • #1700

    Frannie Laks

    I’ve heard a lot of people say that the flu vaccine will not only protect pregnant moms from the flu but will also protect newborns (whose moms had the vaccine while the babies were in utero). How protected are newborns from the flu if their mom’s get the vaccine? What’s the current research saying?

  • #1729

    Lee Procida

    Great question Frannie! This is definitely common advice but we haven’t even ever seen an actual percentage. Are they equally immune, or only protected a percentage of their mother’s protection?

    One thing we have read, and will look into a little more to verify, is that this in utereo immunity doesn’t last a full year. Six to eight months was the number we saw on a number of respected sites.

    Would you use this info to determine whether to take a kid out in public, for instance, or just figure out whether it’s worth worrying about?

  • #1730

    Lee Procida

    Hey again,

    Was this maybe what spurred your question?

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/09/25/552668449/pregnant-women-should-still-get-the-flu-vaccine-doctors-advise

    This look like the prototypical news story that leads to so many parenting myths and misunderstandings. The story is great – thorough, reasonable, nuanced – but it’s just scary enough that people will read part of it and say, “I heard the flu vaccine causes miscarriages.” That might be a worth a future story in and of itself.

    Anyway, we found another NPR story that puts a number on your first question: a 63-70 percent reduction, for about six months.

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/07/477042926/when-pregnant-women-get-flu-shots-babies-are-healthier

  • #1935

    Frannie Laks

    no, not from the npr article…it’s a long and possibly quite boring story as to why i am interested in this topic. but the flu shot and vaccines in general are typically hot topics, so i thought i’d write in about it. a few weeks ago, i was looking up studies linked to the recommendation for pregnant women to get the flu shot and read (maybe on the CDC site?) a summary of one study that showed that babies were 30% less likely to get the flu if their mothers received the flu shot while pregnant. i was surprised by the percentage– i thought the protection would be better. i was also surprised by the apparent lack of studies in this area…

  • #1981

    Lee Procida

    Gotcha. Yeah, that second NPR article puts that percentage about twice as high, and also has a pretty good explanation of why it’s surprisingly difficult to do a study answering this question.

    We’re going to put together a piece on this soon and we’ll share it here.

  • #1988

    Frannie Laks

    i hadn’t checked out the links you sent– will check them out soon. i knew i could count on your for solid info!

  • #1989

    Lee Procida

    Sure thing, and thanks for asking! We summarized what we found and put it together here, with some other good links as well: https://www.parentifact.org/flu-vaccine-safe-during-pregnancy/

  • #2143

    Lee Procida

    Hey again,

    We just updated that piece with this study we also found: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2531457

    It puts the main timeframe of protection as brief as eight weeks. The New York Times covered it as well: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/07/08/flu-vaccine-in-pregnancy-offers-brief-protection-of-babies/

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