New findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed recently that expectant mothers who got the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant are able to pass immune protection to their newborns.
The chance that a 6 months old baby or younger gets hospitalized due to COVID-19 is about 61% lower if the mother got two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine while pregnant, says CDC’s Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman.
The conclusion was based on research conducted at 20 pediatric hospitals across 17 states from July 2021, through Jan. 17th.
The result showed that about 84 percent of the babies hospitalized with COVID-19 had been born to unvaccinated mothers. The study also included some 43 infants who were admitted to an ICU with COVID-19. 88 percent of those kids had mothers who didn’t get vaccinated before giving birth.
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“The bottom line is that maternal vaccination is a really important way to help protect these young ones,” Meaney-Delman told reporters.
That’s especially important, she added, given that shots for this young cohort are still a ways off.
“Unfortunately vaccination of infants younger than 6 months old is not currently on the horizon, highlighting why vaccination during pregnancy is so important for these young infants,” she said.
In fact, previous findings show that vaccines for other illnesses have similarly been shown to safely cross the placenta and give newborns protection, including the shot for flu and whooping cough.
Previous research on Covid vaccines had shown that pregnant mothers could pass antibodies to their babies, but the new study is the first to show real-world effects.
“These antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood, indicating that the antibodies have transferred from the pregnant person to the developing infant,” Meaney-Delman said.
“And while we know that these antibodies cross the placenta, until this study, we haven’t yet had data to demonstrate whether these antibodies might provide protection for the baby against Covid-19.”
However, the CDC study did not evaluate the effects of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on newborns, nor did it look at the effect of booster shots given during pregnancy.
The CDC study did not evaluate the effects of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine on newborns, nor did it look at booster shots given during pregnancy.
“From all of the evidence on boosters increasing protection, antibody levels, we should see higher protection definitely and not lower protection with boosters,” Patel said.
The findings also indicate that babies born to mothers who were vaccinated later in their pregnancies had even less risk of COVID-19 hospitalization compared to babies whose mothers got their shots much earlier during pregnancy.
Meaney-Delman also added that the CDC isn’t changing its stance to encourage women to wait for a late-term vaccine or booster.
Pregnant women face a higher risk of severe illness from a coronavirus infection according to findings and recent research has shown that the virus can attack and even destroy the placenta which could lead to stillbirth.
67% of pregnant women over age 18 had received at least two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or at least, one shot of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
That’s less than the share among the overall adult population: 74 percent.
However, the new recommendation in the US for vaccine eligibility is for people from the ages 5 and up. Among that eligible population, 68% of people are fully vaccinated according to the CDC.