A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that mothers immunised against influenza during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of their babies acquiring the disease during their first six months of life.
The team examined more than 245,000 health records of pregnant women in the US, and more than 249,000 infant records for nine flu seasons from December 2005 through March 2014.
Approximately 10 percent of the women — 23,383 — reported being vaccinated while pregnant compared with 222,003 who said they were not vaccinated.
“Babies cannot be immunised during their first six months, so they must rely on others for protection from the flu during that time,” said lead author Julie H. Shakib, assistant professor at University of Utah in the US.
“When pregnant women get the flu vaccine there are clear benefits for their infants,” she added.
US health records showed that 97 percent of flu cases occured in ingants whose mothers were not immunised against the disease while pregnant.
The researchers found stark difference between the two groups in the number of influenza cases and influenza hospitalisations within six months of birth.