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Study: Flu vaccination during pregnancy decreases flu hospitalizations and ER visits in young infants

Flu vaccination during pregnancy decreases hospitalizations and ER visits in young infants, study fi
Flu vaccination during pregnancy decreases hospitalizations and ER visits in young infants, study fi 01:15

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- UPMC Children's Hospital took part in a new study that found that if pregnant women get the flu vaccine, it dramatically reduces the chance their newborn will go to the ER or be hospitalized for the flu.

Children's was one of seven hospitals around the country that studied how the flu vaccine in pregnant moms protected newborns who can't get the flu vaccine until they're 6 months old. They found it reduced hospitalizations or ER visits in young babies by about a third, and for the youngest infants under 3 months old, it went down by half.

Despite the benefit of the flu vaccine, historically, only about half of pregnant moms get the flu vaccine. Dr. John Williams, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UPMC Children's Hospital, wants to allay women's fears.

"I think it's very natural that pregnant mothers are always concerned about everything they put in their body – what they eat, what they drink," Dr. Williams says. "What we know about flu shots is the flu vaccine has been about the same for about 50 years, and so we have tons of evidence to show that it's very safe during pregnancy. It is not associated with preterm birth or adverse outcomes for the mother or for the baby. It's very safe and effective."

The study also found racial and ethnic disparities in who got the flu vaccine and the kids who were more likely to get sick.  It found that infants born to unvaccinated pregnant people were more likely to be non-Hispanic Black.  Dr. Williams says this is likely in part because of less access to health care and regular doctor's visits.

For more information on the study in "JAMA Pediatrics," click here. For more stories on the health of babies, go to

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