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Mothers vaccinated against COVID during pregnancy may reduce risk of infants being hospitalized with COVID-19

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Babies born to mothers vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy have less risk for hospitalization due to the virus, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

The study found that infants younger than six months old were 61% less likely to be hospitalized if their mothers received a 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine, according to the report. 

The CDC recommended that women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant or are breastfeeding get vaccinated after finding that mothers who are vaccinated are likely to pass on the immunity protection against the virus, the report said. 

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Nurse drawing blood from a pregnant woman
(iStock)

“The CDC study has reaffirmed the additional benefit of COVID vaccination for pregnant moms: protection for the newborn child up to 6 months of age,” said Dr. Michael Nimaroff, senior vice president and executive director of Ob/Gyn services for Northwell Health in New York. He was not part of the study. 

According to the CDC report, the researchers studied 379 newborns under the age of six months at 20 different children’s hospitals across 17 states from July 2021 to January 2022. According to the CDC, 84% of the 176 babies hospitalized with COVID-19 were born to mothers who did not receive the vaccine. 

The study also noted that 88% of babies with COVID-19 admitted to intensive care units were born to unvaccinated mothers. The mother of one infant who died during the study was not vaccinated, the authors of the report noted. 

The Food and Drug Administration has not authorized COVID-19 vaccinations for children under five years of age. 

This presents a potential problem for infants younger than six months old who the public health agency said are at risk of life-threatening complications from a COVID-19 infection, such as acute respiratory failure, the study noted. 

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Lurie Children's Hospital registered nurse Carolyn Ruyle prepares a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 

Lurie Children’s Hospital registered nurse Carolyn Ruyle prepares a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Nov. 5, 2021, in Chicago. 
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

“COVID vaccination in pregnancy has been recommended for some time both due to its safety in pregnancy as well as the increased risks of symptomatic COVID infection to both the mom and her developing child,” Nimaroff, also chairman of the department of Ob/Gyn at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center on Long Island, New York, told Fox News.

Last year, the CDC officially recommended COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women. Health experts told Fox News studies show that pregnant women infected with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of severe complications and death. 

“While it is very understandable that women who are pregnant are concerned about putting anything extraneous in their bodies, women must understand that getting COVID in pregnancy is far worse,” said Dr. Aaron Glatt, an infectious disease expert and chair of the department of medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau on Long Island.

“There are no data that suggest that COVID-19 vaccination is dangerous in pregnancy, but there are several studies documenting that getting COVID-19 in pregnancy can be fatal,” added Glatt, who also serves as the chief of infectious diseases and spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 

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The CDC did note in the report that “protection was higher among infants whose mothers were vaccinated later in pregnancy” and that further studies are needed comparing the timing of vaccination before pregnancy and during pregnancy.

The CDC report also said that pregnant women, those breastfeeding and those trying to conceive should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.


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