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Prenatal Flu Vaccine May Prevent Flu in Infants

Prenatal use of the influenza vaccine may protect young infants against the flu, according to a new study in the February 2011 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The study, which followed 1,269 women who delivered babies during one of three flu seasons and received information on maternal influenza vaccine and flu status in infants from 1,160 of them, showed that infants whose mothers received the influenza vaccine were 41 percent less likely to acquire laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection and 39 percent less likely to be hospitalized for influenza-like illness. Infants younger than 6 months are not eligible for the influenza vaccine, putting them at higher risk of getting the flu, particularly those who are not breastfed and who live in a risky environment.