Flu Vaccine Benefits Both "Mum" and Baby

Inactivated influenza vaccination delivers disease protection to both women and their babies
pregnant woman talking to a doctor

Most women know that when pregnant, you share everything with your baby. 

Which includes disease protection from vaccines. 

But this positive message is not reaching about half of all pregnant women.

During the 2017–18 influenza season, only 49.1 percent of pregnant women received influenza vaccination before or during pregnancy. 

This data is not good news since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed a total of 183 influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season. 

And, approximately 80 percent of these pediatric deaths were unvaccinated children. 

Two recent studies have reported positive safety outcomes when pregnant women receive the Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV).   

On November 23, 2018, a prospective cohort study of 8,827 Australians “FluMum”, published in Clinical Infectious Disease, found that regardless of the trimester, women who received an IIV influenza vaccine did not report adverse birth outcomes, when compared with unvaccinated mothers. 

Additionally, these researchers reported no adverse outcomes for women who received both pertussis and IIV vaccinations during pregnancy. 

Both of the IIV and pertussis vaccines are considered safe during pregnancy by the CDC, but no large-scale study previously reviewed the available safety data.

In a related announcement, during September 2018, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) said on its website that they recommend that all women who are or might be pregnant during the influenza season receive an influenza vaccine. 

Moreover, flu shots can be administered any time during pregnancy.   

According to ACIP, the most commonly reported reason for not receiving influenza vaccination before or during pregnancy was the belief that the vaccine is not effective (20.2%). 

The second most commonly reported main reason for nonreceipt of both vaccines was concern about safety risks to the baby (16.0%). 

Recently, the CDC published ‘Take-3-Actions’ recommendations to avoid the flu, which are as follows: 

  1. Take time to get a flu vaccine.
  2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
  3. Take flu antiviral medicines if your doctor or pharmacist prescribes them.

Additionally, the CDC says to always follow your pharmacist, nurse or doctor’s instructions regarding flu vaccines. 

There are various flu vaccines available for the 2018-19 season. If you have questions, it's best to speak with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides the private sector prices for general information.

Flu vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.