COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy may protect babies after birth | Radio WGN 720

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FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a health worker administers a dose of a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during an immunization clinic at Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pennsylvania. Injections of COVID-19 during pregnancy can protect babies after they are born and reduce the number of infants requiring hospitalization. That’s according to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy can protect babies after they are born and reduce the number of hospitalized infants, according to a US government study released on Tuesday.

The study is the first to show potential benefits for infants born to people who received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines during pregnancy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in a briefing.

It was already known that antibodies developed by COVID-19 vaccines are transferred to the fetus through the umbilical cord. How this might affect infants after birth was uncertain.

“Until this study, we did not yet have data to demonstrate whether these antibodies could protect the baby against COVID-19,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, obstetrician and CDC researcher.

Infants in the study were treated at 20 hospitals in 17 states from July 2021 through mid-January, during flares involving the delta and omicron variants.

The researchers did not examine infection rates in infants. Instead, they looked at data from 176 children under 6 months old who were hospitalized with COVID-19 and 203 in hospital for another condition. They also looked at the vaccination status of all the babies’ mothers.

Vaccination rates were much lower among mothers of COVID-19 infants than among those whose infants were hospitalized for something else — 16% versus 32%.

The findings offer yet another reason for pregnant women to get vaccinated, the researchers said.

About two-thirds of pregnant women in the United States are fully immunized; most received the injections before pregnancy, according to CDC data.

Other vaccines, including influenza and whooping cough vaccines, given during pregnancy are known to protect mothers and infants.

The study provides “another important piece of the puzzle,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, OB-GYN chair at Emory University, who called it important news for babies too young to receive vaccines. COVID-19. While vaccines are in the pipeline for older infants and toddlers, none are on the horizon for infants under 6 months old.

“It’s not surprising, but very reassuring,” Jamieson said.

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Follow AP Medical Editor Lindsey Tanner on @LindseyTanner.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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