Study: Flu vaccine safe for pregnant women

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine says the influenza vaccination is safe for pregnant women and their babies.

The study shows the vaccine provides protection from the flu for moms and their babies, and partial protection for pregnant women who already have the flu.

Pregnant women who get the flu are at higher risk of hospitalization and even death in comparison to non-pregnant women.

That's why doctors say the best option is to get the flu vaccine, a move backed up by the new data.

The study finds the influenza vaccine safe and effective for pregnant women, even if their immune system has been compromised.

"All pregnant women should get the vaccine because it's 100 percent safe in pregnancy," maternal-fetal medicine Dr. Erin Burnett said.

Burnett, of UF Health Jacksonville, said one of the most common questions pregnant patients ask is, will the flu vaccine hurt my baby?

Burnett said not only is it safe for the baby, but it will aid the baby when he or she is out of the womb.

"I don't think a lot of moms realize it, but when they form antibodies, they actually get transmitted to the baby, so the baby then actually is then safe and decreases their risk of getting the flu, which is really important because babies less than 6 months can't get the flu vaccine," Burnett said.

Alina Castillo, who's expecting her first child, thinks the decision is for each mom to make with her doctor.

"I never really had taken the flu shot not being pregnant, so it's not something I would do being pregnant," Castillo said. "I think it's all up to how you feel."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all expecting moms get vaccinated, but it's also recommended they talk to their doctor first.

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