• Influenza
  • For Special Populations

Why do we vaccinate against influenza during pregnancy when it is not recommended to vaccinate infants younger than age 6 months?

ACIP has recommended vaccinating during pregnancy with inactivated influenza vaccine since 1997. Studies have shown that pregnant people are at increased risk for complications, hospitalization, and even death from influenza because of the increased physiologic strain of pregnancy on their heart, lungs, and immune system. Vaccination can occur in any trimester, including the first.

Infants younger than 6 months old are at high risk of influenza-related complications, but influenza vaccine is not recommended for them because the immune response to influenza vaccination is limited before 6 months of age. Vaccinating during pregnancy provides maternal antibodies to the fetus which  helps protect infants against influenza during the first 6 months of life until they can get vaccinated at age 6 months. Vaccinating pregnant people protects them, their unborn babies, and their babies after birth.

Last reviewed: September 10, 2023

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