Influenza immunization of pregnant women in resource-constrained countries: an update for funding and implementation decisions

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Purpose of review

In 2018, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is expected to review the strategy of maternal influenza immunization for potential investment in low-income countries.

Recent findings

Clinical trial data confirm the efficacy of maternal influenza immunization to prevent influenza disease in both mothers and their infants during the first months of life. Trial and observational data indicate no significant adverse events in mothers or newborns. High-quality disease burden data, particularly for seasonal influenza in low-income and middle-income countries, are limited. Thus, the anticipated impact of maternal influenza immunization programs on severe illness is unclear. However, assessments of the public health value of investment in maternal influenza immunization should extend beyond calculations of disease prevention and include broader effects such as improving health systems for antenatal care delivery, preventing inappropriate antibacterial prescribing, building a platform for other vaccines to be used during pregnancy, and strengthening systems to regulate, procure, and distribute influenza vaccines in response to a future pandemic.


A global investment in a maternal influenza immunization strategy would prevent influenza disease in pregnant women and their infants. It would also provide additional public health value by strengthening antenatal care systems and improving country pandemic preparedness.

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