Rockville, Md. –An innovative international study coordinated by Abt Associates has found that over the course of six flu seasons, getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized from flu by an average of 40 percent. While previous studies have shown that a flu shot can reduce a pregnant woman’s risk of flu illness, this is the first study to show vaccination protection against hospitalization. For this study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with a number of other public health agencies and health care systems in Australia, Canada, Israel and the United States through the Pregnancy Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Network (PREVENT). PREVENT consists of health care and public health systems with integrated laboratory, medical and vaccination records. Study sites retrospectively examined medical records of more than two million women who were pregnant from 2010 through 2016 to identify those who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu.
The evidence of influenza vaccination effectiveness could build momentum to combat a widespread public health problem. The study found that 84 percent of the two million pregnancies in the data collected overlapped with the flu season, suggesting that many pregnant women likely will face exposure to flu during their pregnancies. Yet in the United States, only 50 percent of pregnant women were vaccinated, and that was the highest vaccination rate among pregnant women of the four developed countries studied.
Other studies have shown that in addition to helping to protect pregnant women, a flu shot during pregnancy helps protect babies from flu infection for several months after birth before they are old enough to get their own vaccinations.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is an engine for social impact, dedicated to moving people from vulnerability to security. Harnessing the power of data and our experts’ grounded insights, we provide research, consulting and technical services globally in the areas of health, environmental and social policy, technology and international development. Learn more about our flu work.