Maternal Immunization as a Strategy to Decrease Susceptibility to Infection in Newborn Infants

Benjamin Lindsey; Beate Kampmann; Christine Jones


Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013;26(3):248-253. 

In This Article

Maternal Influenza Vaccination

During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, both pregnant women and infants were at greater risk of hospitalization and severe complications, including death.[36–38] Rates of stillbirth and prematurity were also significantly greater in pregnant women with influenza infection.[37] This dual burden of disease in infants and pregnant mothers therefore makes maternal vaccination an ideal intervention, as it would simultaneously protect both mother and child.

Influenza vaccine effectively induces an immune response in pregnancy, which is also observed in the newborn;[39] for example, the monovalent 2009 H1N1 vaccine produces a protective antibody level in 97% of vaccinated mothers and 89% of newborns.[40] Maternal influenza vaccination has been shown to reduce the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases by 63% and reduce the incidence of febrile respiratory illness by a third in infants and mothers,[41] confirming the clinical benefits of this intervention.

The World Health Organization recommends that all pregnant women should receive the vaccine regardless of trimester and several countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have been implementing their own programmes for many years.