Vaccinate Mom to Protect Baby?

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A large study of nearly 500,000 moms and babies shows that moms who got a flu shot while pregnant helped their babies stay healthier. (KFSN)

A large study of nearly 500,000 moms and babies shows that moms who got a flu shot while pregnant helped their babies stay healthier. That's big news, since newborns under six months of age are at the highest risk of getting the flu, which can be dangerous or deadly.

Newborn Luke Mallin may be protected against getting the flu for up to six months, because his mom got a flu shot while she was pregnant.

Luke's mom, Brittany Mallin, told Ivanhoe, "He's only two months old, so knowing that he's going to be protected while under the age of six months when he can't get the vaccine himself makes me feel very good."

Julie Shakib, DO, MS, MPH, the medical director of Well Baby Nursery at the University of Utah explained, "There was a 70 percent reduction in lab-confirmed influenza if a mom reported she received the vaccine during pregnancy."

Dr. Shakib studied health records of 245,000 pregnant women over nine years. She found that babies of women who got flu shots had a 70% reduction in getting the flu, and an 80% reduction in flu-related hospitalizations in their first six months. Ninety-seven percent of baby flu cases in the study were born to moms who didn't get the vaccine during pregnancy.

Dr. Shakib told Ivanhoe, "Instead of causing harm, this actually causes true benefit for the baby, and that is really what we want moms to take away from the study."

Brittany knows some people are against vaccines.

"I know there's some scary research out there that has been discredited that can make people believe that vaccines are scary, but I don't think they are," said Brittany.

She said helping Luke avoid the flu just by her getting a shot is worth it.

Dr. Shakib is now trying to find out if breast-feeding increases flu vaccine protection for infants.
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