Can infants be protected by means of maternal vaccination?

S. Esposito, S. Bosis, L. Morlacchi, E. Baggi, C. Sabatini, N. Principi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The administration of vaccines is not usually recommended in pregnant women because of a fear of severe adverse events for the fetus. However, contraindication to vaccination applies only to vaccines based on live attenuated viruses for the theoretical possibility that they might infect the fetus. In contrast, the use of several inactivated vaccines is useful and recommended. As a result of the transplacental passage of antibodies, maternal immunization can reduce the risk of vaccine-preventable diseases that may occur in the first months of life before the start or completion of the suggested vaccination schedule. One of the best examples is vaccination against influenza that can protect pregnant women from a disease that can lead to hospitalization and death in a significantly higher number of cases than in the general population and can induce protective specific antibody levels as well as being effective in infants in the first months of life. Other examples are vaccinations against tetanus, pertussis, pneumococcal infections and Haemophilus influenzae type b infection. This review analyses the advantages and limitations of maternal immunization as revealed by experience and the main publications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-92
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue numberSUPPL. 5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Infant protection
  • Maternal immunization
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevention
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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