Objective: Inactivated influenza virus vaccines (IIVs) are recommended for all pregnant women in the United States. We conducted a prospective, randomized, double blind study of three licensed seasonal trivalent IIVs (IIV3s) to assess their safety and immunogenicity in pregnant women and determine the level and persistence of passively transferred maternal antibody in infants.
Study design: 139 pregnant women ages 18-39 years and 14-33 weeks' gestation, and 44 non-pregnant women, were randomized 1:1:1 to receive a single intramuscular dose of one of three licensed IIV3s (Agriflu®, Fluzone®, or Fluarix®) prior to the 2010-2011 influenza season. Reactogenicity, adverse events (AEs) and pregnancy outcomes were documented. Serum samples for hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) and neutralization antibody assays were collected prior to and 28 and 180 days after immunization. Maternal sera and cord blood were collected at the time of delivery and sera were obtained from 44 infants at 6 weeks of age.
Results: Pregnant and non-pregnant women experienced similar frequency of injection site (92% and 86%, respectively) and systemic (95% and 87%, respectively) reactions, the majority of which were mild. There were no vaccine-associated maternal or infant serious AEs. Antibody responses to the three vaccine antigens were not different between pregnant and non-pregnant women. The ratios of cord blood (infant) to maternal HAI antibody titers at delivery ranged between 1.1 and 1.7 for each of the vaccine antigens. Influenza antibody concentrations in infants were 70-40% of the birth titer by 6 weeks of age.
Conclusions: The three IIV3s were well tolerated in pregnant women. Antibody responses were comparable in pregnant and non-pregnant women, and after second or third trimester vaccination. Transplacental transfer of maternal antibodies to the infant was efficient. However, antibody titers decline rapidly in the first 6 weeks of life.
Keywords: Antibody persistence; IIV3; Infant; Influenza vaccine; Maternal immunization; Passive antibody transfer; Pregnant women.
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