Researchers have revealed more evidence that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy protects young babies.
The findings of a new CDC-sponsored study have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. During the Delta Wave (July 1 – December 18, 2021), the infant risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19 was lowered by 80%, and by 40% during the Omicron Wave (December 19 – December 8, 2022).
“Our findings emphasise the importance of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy to protect both women and their babies from COVID-19,” said co-author Bria Coates, MD, of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“Although protection was reduced during the Omicron period, compared to the Delta period,” the study concluded, “even a slight reduction in risk is crucial, because COVID-19 vaccinations are unlikely to be accessible for newborns less than 6 months old in the near future.”
From July 1, 2021 to March 8, 2022, babies younger than 6 months of age were admitted to 30 paediatric hospitals in 22 states.
Dr. Coates and colleagues discovered that the majority of newborns (90%) who required critical care due to COVID-19 infection were delivered to women who were not vaccinated during pregnancy.
Infants less than 6 months of age are at significant risk for COVID-19 consequences, including severe respiratory failure or death, and account for a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations among those aged 0-4 years.
This research contained information on 537 newborns who were hospitalised with COVID-19. Of those, 21% were hospitalised to the critical care unit, and 12% required mechanical breathing, additional help getting enough oxygen into the body, or vasoactive infusions.
Two newborns died as a result of COVID-19, and two others required advanced life support, which helps the body acquire adequate oxygen; the mothers of these kids had not been vaccinated.
Researchers also discovered that maternal COVID-19 vaccine was more effective against COVID-19 hospitalisation for newborns after 20 weeks of pregnancy vs earlier in pregnancy.
“While protecting the infant is crucial, it is also important to note that COVID-19 immunizations protect women from severe sickness during pregnancy and lessen COVID-19 problems,” said Dr. Coates, who is also the Crown Family Research Scholar in Developmental Biology.
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, the CDC and professional medical organisations like as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine advocate getting it as soon as you are eligible and at any time throughout your pregnancy. The CDC advises that pregnant, nursing, attempting to get pregnant, or who may become pregnant in the future get vaccinated and keep their COVID-19 immunizations up to date.