• IMAGE medscape.com

    Here’s more reason to get vaccinated while pregnant. Recent research published in the journal Pediatrics shows that moms who receive the flu shot while pregnant give birth to babies who are also protected from the virus, reports HealthDay. 

    Babies 6 months old and below whose moms were vaccinated with the flu shot during pregnancy were 70 percent less likely to have the flu compared to babies born to mothers who didn’t get the shot while pregnant, results of the study showed.

    The study involved reviewing data from health records of more than 245,000 pregnant women and more than 249,000 infants spanning more than 9 years, from 2005 to 2015. According to the researchers, only about 10 percent of the women reported being vaccinated while pregnant. 

    Various reasons were cited as to why the women refused getting immunization shots, some of which include: misconceptions about harming the unborn baby or the mother, belief that the vaccine is ineffective or will cause influenza, or the belief that they weren’t at risk of getting the flu anyway. 

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    Results showed that babies who were born to mothers vaccinated by the flu shot during pregnancy were 80 percent less likely to be hospitalized for flu-related illnesses. 

    Notably, 97 percent of confirmed flu cases were among babies whose mothers didn’t get the flu shot while pregnant.

    “Children younger than 6 months are too young to be vaccinated,” said lead author Dr. Julie Shakib, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

    “The best way to protect infants younger than 6 months is to make sure everyone around them is vaccinated. Immunizing pregnant women provides immunity to the baby through the placenta. Immunizing others who live with or care for the baby prevents them from getting the flu and passing it on to the baby,” said Shakib.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the U.S. and the National Health Service in the UK highly recommend that all pregnant women receive the flu vaccine. 

    The health institutions mentioned above advise women to get the shot at any time during the pregnancy, for protection not only for the mothers but also for unborn babies and newborn babies. They both confirm that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, and poses no risk to breastfeeding moms and their babies. 

    Sources: WebMD, CDC, NHS  

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