Emerg Infect Dis. 2021;27(9):2409-2420. doi: 10.3201/eid2709.203791.
In Ceará, Brazil, seasonal influenza transmission begins before national annual vaccination campaigns commence. To assess the perinatal consequences of this misalignment, we tracked severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), influenza, and influenza immunizations during 2013-2018. Among 3,297 SARI cases, 145 (4.4%) occurred in pregnant women. Statewide vaccination coverage was >80%; however, national vaccination campaigns began during or after peak influenza season. Thirty to forty weeks after peak influenza season, birthweights decreased by 40 g, and rates of prematurity increased from 10.7% to 15.5%. We identified 61 children born to mothers with SARI during pregnancy; they weighed 10% less at birth and were more likely to be premature than 122 newborn controls. Mistiming of influenza vaccination campaigns adversely effects perinatal outcomes in Ceará. Because Ceará is the presumptive starting point for north-to-south seasonal influenza transmission in Brazil, earlier national immunization campaigns would provide greater protection for pregnant women and their fetuses in Ceará and beyond.