Pregnant women who get flu shot less likely to have low-birth-weight babies: study

TORONTO - A study has found that pregnant women who get the flu shot are less likely to have a premature or low-birth-weight infant compared to those who don't get vaccinated.

But despite recommendations that pregnant women get the flu shot, researchers say annual vaccination rates since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic have been low.

The study by Dalhousie University in Halifax found 64 per cent of pregnant women were vaccinated against flu during the 2009 pandemic.

That rate fell to about 16 per cent in subsequent years.

Lead author Alexandra Legge says poor knowledge about the risks of influenza during pregnancy and concerns about fetal safety are common reasons for not getting the shot.

But Legge says pregnant women will often agree to vaccination when it's recommended by their health-care providers.

A number of studies over the last 15 years have shown the benefits of influenza vaccination for both mothers and babies.

"Given the mounting evidence, both Canadian and World Health Organization guidelines now recommend routine seasonal influenza vaccination of all pregnant women in any trimester," write the authors.


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