By Eve Lackritz, Andy Stergachis, and Maria Stepanchak
The first 28 days of life (the neonatal period) are the most vulnerable for a child’s survival. Worldwide, almost half of all deaths in children under five years old occur during the first 28 days of life. Despite progress in recent decades, neonatal mortality remains the highest in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), and 99% of all neonatal deaths occur in LMICs.
Maternal immunization is a key strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality in both newborns and pregnant women, especially in LMICs which face the greatest burden of vaccine preventable diseases and have the most limited access to health services. Vaccinating pregnant women can offer protection for the mother, the developing fetus, and the newborn through transfer of maternal antibodies across the placenta, protecting both mother and baby from vaccine-preventable life-threatening infections.
Andy Stergachis, Professor of Global Health and Associate Dean of the School of Pharmacy, co-authored this story.