The director of the CDC urged pregnant women to get vaccinated with the booster dose
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Young mother looking at thermometer and checking baby's temperature in the bedroom.
Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 are increasing among babies under 6 months, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging mothers to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection in those who have not yet are eligible for the vaccines, said director Rochelle Walensky.
“We are seeing more and more young babies being hospitalized,” Walensky said in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg at CDC headquarters in Atlanta. “That's where we're really trying to work now because we think we can prevent them by vaccinating the mother.”
Walensky, who has just recovered from a Covid-19 infection and his subsequent rebound, spoke before the publication of an agency report on the outbreak in babies. He did not cite figures from the study. Although some adults, especially those over 65 and people with weakened immune systems, remain at high riskIf they contract severe Covid, they can be vaccinated, unlike younger patients.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky (Reuters)
Publicly available CDC data shows that hospitalizations of children under 5 years old have remained persistent throughout the pandemic, increasing during large waves of the virus. In the week ending October 29, 46 children under the age of 5 were hospitalized with Covid-19, according to the CDC, more than twice the number of children ages 5 to 17.
A recent study by Pfizer suggested that vaccinating pregnant women against respiratory syncytial virus, another lung disease that threatens young children, may protect their newborns from infection. The new data suggests the same dynamic with Covid vaccination.
“We know that those antibodies will be transferred to the baby,” Walensky said. “In fact, it will help protect the baby.”
CDC is preparing to encourage pregnant women to receive the bivalent vaccine that protects against two widespread strains of the highly infectious omicron strain, BA.4 and BA.5 . Current rates of acceptance of bivalent reinforcement are low in all adults. It also wants to continue to encourage vaccination of all eligible children.
“We have observed relatively low vaccination rates in our children from 6 months to 5 years, even in those from 5 to 11 years and in those from 12 to 17 years,” he said . “One of the most important things you can do is get your children vaccinated.”
(With information from Bloomberg)