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Defend Together: A Conversation about Flu Vaccines and Pregnancy

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November 16, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 3:20 pm EST

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the burden of influenza (flu) in the United States is significant – leading to 26 million illnesses, 290,000 hospitalizations, and up to 19,000 deaths during the last flu season. Getting the flu during pregnancy increases the risk of developing serious illness, pregnancy complications, and hospitalization. Even at optimum health, changes in the body during pregnancy can increase the risk for severe illness in people who get the flu.

A survey of the 2021-2022 flu season found a decrease in vaccine coverage in pregnant women by 54% from the previous season. Vaccine hesitancy is contributing factor, with pregnant people reporting concerns about the safety risks of flu and other vaccines to the baby.

The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) hosted an Instagram Live event with a Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) expert to share educational information and discuss the benefits of the flu vaccine for women and their families, with a focus on pregnant populations.


Follow the conversation on Twitter at @SWHR and #SWHRtalksVaccines.

This event is free and open to the public.


November 16, 2023
3:00 pm - 3:20 pm EST
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This is took place on Instagram Live!

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Judette Louis, MPH, MD

Chair of the Department of OB/GYN, University of South Florida

Judette Louis, MPH, MD

Chair of the Department of OB/GYN, University of South Florida

Dr. Louis is the Chair of the Department of OB/GYN at University of South Florida. She has a joint faculty appointment in both the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine. A specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Dr. Louis has been active in SMFM for many years. In addition to being Immediate Past President, she has served on the group’s board of directors, as representative for the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative Taskforce, on its publications committee. She also earned SMFM’s President’s Award for Research Excellence.

Her research in obstructive sleep apnea in pregnant women led to a career focused on maternal morbidity and mortality. Dr. Louis has authored numerous scientific articles and book chapters on sleep apnea and maternal morbidity/mortality. She also served as a member of SWHR’s Interdisciplinary Network on Sleep, which worked to bring attention to sleep health issues in women and enhance discussions between health care providers and patients to better address women’s sleep needs.

Through her work as a clinical leader for the Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative, Dr. Louis has led statewide programs to improve management of obstetric emergencies in the state of Florida. She is passionate about making pregnancy safer for all women and in particular, improving maternal health across the lifespan.


Irene O. Aninye, PhD

Chief Science Officer, Society for Women's Health Research

Irene O. Aninye, PhD

Chief Science Officer, Society for Women's Health Research

Aninye envisions and directs dynamic science programs that increase awareness of and investment in women’s health and sex differences research. She identifies and recruits diverse stakeholders to participate in SWHR’s interdisciplinary science networks and channels their expertise to advance the goals of SWHR’s mission-focused programs.

Prior to joining SWHR, Aninye worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Research Competitiveness Program, where she led strategy teams to evaluate the progress and outcomes of multidisciplinary STEM research and training programs for university consortia. She also designed peer-review systems for externally organized competitions and facilitated workshops to build research capacity and competitiveness in the U.S. and abroad.

Aninye completed her PhD in molecular and integrative physiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her research focused on identifying and characterizing novel small molecule inhibitors of progesterone receptor action in breast cancer. As a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she expanded her work in endocrinology and metabolism, studying thyroid hormone action in development and reproduction.

In addition to research, Aninye has dedicated her career to engaging the scientific community through academic service, outreach, and teaching. At the National Institutes of Health (NIH), she developed CEU courses in biotechnology and innovation for clinicians and basic researchers through the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES@NIH). She was also a member of the biology faculty at Loyola University Maryland.

With a passion to diversify the face of STEM and increase the involvement of underrepresented groups in the sciences, she serves as a mentor and advisor to students and early-career scientists, and she has provided leadership on multiple educational program, career development, and award review committees at professional societies, universities, and community organizations.

A Washington, DC, native, Aninye attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) as a Meyerhoff Scholar and holds a BS in biochemistry and molecular biology.


Support for this educational program has been provided by CSL Seqirus. SWHR maintains independence and editorial control over program development, content, and work products.

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