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Flu vaccine protects babies


New research claims that babies whose mothers are given the flu vaccine during pregnancy are less likely to catch the virus themselves.

Infants are given protection by the jab during the first six months of their life and are also less likely to need hospital treatment for respiratory illnesses, the US study published in the journal Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine concluded.

Researchers added: “Influenza virus infection in infants is generally more frequent among those aged six to 12 months than in the first six months of life, potentially owing to the protection conferred by maternal influenza antibodies acquired transplacentally or through breastfeeding.”

The Government has urged pregnant women across the UK to make sure they get a flu vaccine this winter. Jabs are being offered through GPs and are meant to offer protection against the swine flu virus, which is still circulating.

Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from swine flu, compared with the general public, research has shown. Young children are also vulnerable but are not included in the Government’s current vaccination programme unless they have a pre-existing health condition.

Copyright Press Association 2010

Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

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