Researchers offer more proof that COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect newborns under 6 months from being hospitalised due to COVID-19 in a new study supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Between July 1 and December 18, 2021, the COVID-19 hospitalisation risk among infants was lowered by roughly 80%, and by 40%, during the Omicron wave (December 19-March 8, 2022).
Infants younger than six months of age who were hospitalised to 30 paediatric hospitals in 22 states between July 1, 2021, and March 8, 2022 were included in the study. According to research by Dr. Coates and colleagues, 90% of newborns who required intensive care due to COVID-19 infection were delivered to women who had not received prenatal vaccinations. Infants under 6 months of age are disproportionately more likely than those between 0 and 4 years of age to experience COVID-19 problems, such as severe respiratory failure or death. Data on 537 infants who were hospitalised with COVID-19 were included in this study.
“Our results reinforce the importance of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy to protect both the women and their babies from COVID-19,” said co-author Bria Coates, MD, Critical Care physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Although protection was lower during the Omicron period, compared to the Delta period, even a moderate reduction in risk is important, because COVID-19 vaccines are not likely to be available for babies younger than 6 months old in the foreseeable future.”
Of those, 12 percent required mechanical ventilation, additional assistance obtaining enough oxygen to the body, or vasoactive infusions, and 21% were hospitalised to the intensive care unit. Due to COVID-19, two newborns died and two more required advanced life support, which ensures the body receives enough oxygen. The moms of these kids were not immunised. Researchers also discovered that after 20 weeks of pregnancy, as opposed to earlier in pregnancy, women were more effective at protecting against maternal COVID-19 hospitalisation.
“While protection for the baby is important, it is critical to remember that COVID-19 vaccines protect women against severe illness during pregnancy and reduce complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Coates, who also is the Crown Family Research Scholar in Developmental Biology.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are two professional medical associations that advise COVID-19 immunisation as soon as possible and at any stage during pregnancy. The CDC concurs and advises women who are or may become pregnant in the future to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to maintain current COVID-19 vaccination records.