The vaccination of pregnant women has enormous potential to protect not only mothers from vaccine-preventable diseases but also their infants through the passive acquisition of protective antibodies before they are able to themselves acquire protection through active childhood immunisations. Maternal tetanus programmes have been in place since 1989, and as of March 2018, only 14 countries in the world were still to reach maternal neonatal tetanus elimination status. This has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Building on this success, influenza- and pertussis-containing vaccines have been recommended for pregnant women and introduced into immunisation programmes, albeit predominantly in resource-rich settings. These have highlighted some important challenges when additional immunisations are introduced into the antenatal context. With new vaccine candidates, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and group B streptococcus (GBS), on the horizon, it is important that we learn from these experiences, identify the information gaps, and close these to ensure safe and successful implementation of maternal vaccines in the future, particularly in low- and middle-income countries with a high burden of disease.
- Group B streptococcus
- Respiratory syncytial virus