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Home Industry News Vaccinating family ‘protects newborn children from flu’

Vaccinating family ‘protects newborn children from flu’

27th October 2008

Vaccinating new mothers against influenza before their newborn baby leaves hospital can protect the child from the flu, scientists claim.

Research shows that vaccinating mothers and other family members can create a “cocooning effect” that may shelter unprotected children.

At present it’s not recommended to vaccinate newborn infants for flu but they have highest rate of hospitalisation due to influenza when compared to any other age group of children, a rate similar to adults aged 80 and over.

“In some seasons the influenza-associated mortality rate is highest among infants. We want to protect the newborn by vaccinating the entire family, and send parents home with one less thing to worry about,” Emmanuel Walter, from the Duke Children’s Hospital said.

Walter reported that vaccination coverage of new mothers and other family members increased 16 per cent at Durham Regional when judged against the comparison site.

“Our study shows that offering the flu vaccine to new mothers during their baby’s stay in the hospital is an effective way to assure that all women have the opportunity to get vaccinated and thereby protect their own health and the health of their baby,” Mr Walter added.

“It also proved to be a convenient, and possibly the most effective way for fathers to be vaccinated. Protection of the newborn from the dangers of influenza is maximised when those who have the closest contact are vaccinated.”

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