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Getting COVID Shot During Pregnancy Helps Protect Newborns, CDC Study Finds

FRIDAY, Sept. 29, 2023 (HealthDay News) – When pregnant women get a COVID vaccine, it helps protect their newborns from the virus, a new government study shows.

"These findings indicate that maternal vaccination during pregnancy could help prevent COVID-19–related hospitalization in infants too young to be vaccinated," researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote.

Antibodies after COVID vaccination crossed the placenta and were found in the cord blood, according to the study.

Babies can’t receive COVID vaccines until they’re 6 months old.

In infants younger than 3 months old, a vulnerable stage of life, maternal vaccination was 54% effective against COVID hospitalization, according to the report.

In infants 3 to 5 months old, the vaccine was still 35% effective when their moms received it while pregnant.

"This finding aligns with at least one other study, which demonstrated increased protection among infants during the first 90 days of life," the researchers wrote.

Published Friday in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, data for the study came from 26 pediatric hospitals through May 2023.

Since the winter of 2022, infants are among the age groups with the highest hospitalization rates from COVID infection, the study noted.

Among the organizations urging vaccination for pregnant moms are the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has pointed to numerous studies showing the shots can also help reduce the risk of severe illness for the mother, CBS News reported.

Still, pregnant women who contract COVID can face an increased risk of complications including stillbirth, though overall risks are low, according to the CDC.

Pregnant women have also been advised to get the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine and now the new RSV vaccine.

More information

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has more on pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination.


SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 29, 2023; CBS News

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