Flu shot cuts pregnant women's hospitalization risk by 40%, study finds

Pregnant women who receive a flu vaccine are 40 percent less likely to experience a flu-related hospitalization, according to a study published Oct. 11 in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

For the study, researchers examined medical records for 2 million pregnant women in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Israel between 2010 and 2016. Across all locations and seasons, only 16 percent of pregnant women received a flu shot prior to hospitalization.

During the study period, researchers identified 19,450 hospitalizations involving pregnant women with flu-like symptoms. However, only 1,030 hospitalized women were given a flu test to confirm a diagnosis. Fifty-four percent of these women tested positive for the flu. Of those, only 13 percent had received a flu shot. Twenty-two percent of those who tested negative for the flu were vaccinated against the virus.

Researchers adjusted their findings for various factors, including age and season, before concluding flu vaccination decreased a pregnant woman's hospitalization risk by 40 percent.

"This study's findings underscore the fact that there is a simple, yet impactful way to reduce the possibility of complications from flu during pregnancy: get a flu shot," Allison Naleway, PhD, one of the study's authors and a researcher at Portland, Ore.-based Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, said in a statement cited by ABC News.

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