Because pregnant women and newborns are particularly vulnerable to the flu and its complications, guidelines recommend a flu shot during pregnancy. However, it wasn’t known whether that vaccine would work if a woman had already received a flu shot recently.
But a new study found that mother and baby will both be well-protected by a flu shot given during pregnancy, regardless of whether the mother got another one recently.
“Vaccinations in pregnant women work whether they have the vaccine the previous year or not,” said study co-author Dr. Octavio Ramilo. He is chief of the infectious diseases division at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
“Influenza is more severe during pregnancy. During the 2009 flu pandemic, pregnant women were six times more likely to die from influenza than the general public,” Ault said. “And flu is associated with obstetrical problems, such as preterm delivery and stillbirth. The influenza vaccine provides protection against these problems.”
However, Ramilo added, it still wasn’t clear if recent vaccinations could actually weaken flu resistance in pregnant women when they got a new flu shot during pregnancy.
This concern has to do with the way that the body primes itself to fight off the flu after a vaccination. Two vaccinations given closely in time to each other might weaken the effects of the second one, he noted.