This health video examines the new vaccine to help save newborns.
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Jennifer Mathews: This is where new vaccines are born. In this case, it’s a vaccine to protect newborns. Doctor Sharon Hillier is trying to stamp out a common but deadly bug known as Group B streptococcus or GBS. If the bug is transmitted from mom to baby during labor, it can be dangerous. Sharon Hillier: Sometimes, this organism can invade the baby and actually cause an infection of the blood or even the brain and this infection can be fatal. Jennifer Mathews: Doctor Hillier is testing a single injection of a new vaccine in women to see if they can stop GBS from invading the reproductive tract. The vaccine is active against the most common form of GBS. About 3 to 5,000 babies in the US are infected with GBS each year. Perhaps because fatal cases of GBS are rare, manufacturers in the US have been slow to show interest in a vaccine. Sharon Hillier: Because it’s pretty rare, most people think it’s not a big deal. But if it’s your baby and you’ve done everything right, it’s an absolute tragedy. Jennifer Mathews: Lynn Reid knows that firsthand. When she gave birth to Jason, antibiotics failed and she transmitted GBS to her baby. He nearly dies and still has health problems. Lynn Reid: If I have been vaccinated against Group B strep, I wouldn’t have gotten it and none of this would have happened. Jennifer Mathews: She hopes the vaccine will protect future mothers from going through what she did. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.