Flu Vaccine Cuts Hospitalization Rates in Pregnant Women

Flu-related hospitalizations cut by 40% over 6 flu seasons.
Flu-related hospitalizations cut by 40% over 6 flu seasons.

HealthDay News — Among pregnant women, the flu vaccination is effective at reducing the risk for flu-related hospitalizations, according to a study published online October 11 in Clinical Infectious Disease.

Mark G. Thompson, PhD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the Pregnancy Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network in Canada, Australia, Israel, and the United States to examine influenza vaccine effectiveness against laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations during pregnancy. The authors identified pregnant women aged 18 to 50 years whose pregnancies overlapped with local influenza seasons from 2010 through 2016. 

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The researchers found that among 19,450 hospitalizations with an acute respiratory or febrile illness (ARFI) discharge diagnosis (across 25 site-specific study seasons), only 1030 (6%) of the pregnant women were tested for influenza viruses using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Of these women, approximately half had pneumonia or influenza discharge diagnoses (54%), with influenza A or B virus infection detection in 598 of 1030 (58%) of the ARFI hospitalizations. Adjusted overall influenza vaccine effectiveness was 40% against influenza-associated hospitalization during pregnancy.

"Between 2010 and 2016, influenza vaccines offered moderate protection against laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations during pregnancy, which may further inform the benefits of maternal influenza vaccination programs," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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