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Positive effect of influenza vaccination on birth outcomes

on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 09:20

Seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancy may grant benefit not only to the mother, but also for the fetus. This is the conclusion of a Canadian study, published on the Canadian Medical Association Journal, conducted on all women who gave birth in Nova Scotia during two seasons following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

The researchers used data from the Nova Scotia Atlee Perinatal Database to examine maternal vaccination rates and neonatal outcomes and found that infants of vaccinated women were less likely to face preterm birth or to have child with low birth weight. This positive effect could be due to the protection provided to the fetus by vaccination, which allowed to avoid the associated inflammatory response that may trigger premature labor. However, they also found that, despite recommendation from health authorities, only 16% of all pregnant women received influenza vaccine.

Two out of the five authors of the study – Jeffrey Scott and Shelly McNeil – has financial relationships with pharmaceutical industries, namely Sanofi-Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.