Study evaluates effectiveness of H1N1 vaccine in pregnant women against adverse infant outcomes

Published on February 20, 2013 at 12:34 AM · No Comments

Pregnant women who received the H1N1 influenza vaccine during the 2009 pandemic were less likely to have premature babies, and their babies weighed more on average.

Influenza infection during pregnancy is associated with adverse infant outcomes such as preterm birth. Emory researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health, in a joint study with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic States, evaluated the effectiveness of the H1N1 influenza vaccine in pregnant women against adverse infant outcomes during the 2009 pandemic. They compared birth outcomes among pregnant women who received the vaccine to those among pregnant women who were not vaccinated.

The researchers used de-identified electronic medical records for 3,327 women enrolled in Kaiser Permanente managed care organization sites between April 2009 and April 2010. The study looked at whether women got the H1N1 influenza vaccine during pregnancy and their birth outcomes such as premature birth and birth weight. Overall findings showed that vaccinated mothers were less likely to deliver their babies prematurely. On average, infants of vaccinated mothers also weighed more at birth than infants born to unvaccinated mothers.

"Our findings confirm the importance of receiving the influenza vaccine during pregnancy in order to protect the infant's health," explains Jennifer Richards, MPH, first author of the study. "Previous studies have shown that seasonal influenza vaccination may prevent preterm birth. This study shows that moms who were vaccinated during the H1N1 pandemic were less likely to have premature babies."

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