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Vaccination during pregnancy is one of the best ways to allow vulnerable newborns to benefit from antibodies to the coronavirus, doctors say. (© fitopardo / GettyImages)

If you have a baby at home, or if you plan to have a baby in the coming months, you may have a baby for a variety of reasons, especially because of COVID-19.Coronavirus delta variants cover almost every community in the country A bright red hotspot for virus infection.. Babies are not yet vaccinated with COVID-19 — and the youngest age included in current vaccine clinical studies is 6 months of age.

actual, Percentage of new cases of COVID-19 in infants According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children under the age of four in the United States recently outperformed the new case rate for adults aged 65 and over (although the number of child deaths remains very low).

“People said,’Oh, kids don’t get COVID.’ That’s not really true,” says Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician outside Atlanta. “They are getting it at the same rate we expect based on them [portion of the] population. “

Shu says he is worried. [case] Variants like Delta utilize vulnerable people, so numbers from children. “

This is a guide to the latest science and some practical advice on how to protect new babies from all variants of the coronavirus.

1. How to pass some coronavirus antibodies during pregnancy

There are many reasons why OB-GYN, midwives and infectious disease professionals encourage pregnant people. Get vaccinated against coronavirus, The first reason is this: COVID-19 can be made Especially sick pregnant people..

Then say there is this bonus from vaccination of pregnant individuals Dr. Flor Munoz, Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist: The foetation obtains some of the antibodies produced through the placenta.

“The paradigm of immunizing pregnant women and protecting newborns and toddlers from illness is old,” he said. Dr. Karen PuopoloHe leads the Department of Neonatal Medicine at the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, where he studies neonatal infections.For example, pregnant people have long been encouraged to get Whooping cough vaccination As a result, their bodies produce antibodies that are passed to the foetation and protect the baby after birth.

According to Munoz, there is no specific recommended timing for the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. However, due to the timing required by Moderna and Pfizer, if you take two shots every few weeks, you will be protected by the third trimester, which is the most sensitive period, if you are vaccinated “per second trimester”.

In fact, Puopolo says, “In the second half of the third semester, your body essentially makes it active, allowing your baby to have more antibodies in terms of concentration than it is in you. There is a process. “

Munoz is a large leader A study funded by the National Institutes of Health called MOMI-VAX To collect a lot of data on mothers, infants and vaccinations, including measurements of SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in mothers and babies at birth. We will also find out how long these antibodies last and how well they protect the baby from infection. (The study will begin enrolling volunteers in early July and will follow individuals and their babies for the first year after delivery.)

Antibodies borrowed from pregnancy can decrease in the first few months of life, according to Munoz.

2. Breastfeeding can also help if you are vaccinated or already infected with COVID-19.

Mothers who have been vaccinated or who have been previously infected with the coronavirus can also pass antibodies to their baby via breast milk. Breast milk acts like a temporary shield in the mouth, nose, and stomach, Muñoz explains.

“If you do, it’s mainly a surface coating,” she says. The coating is useful because “this is where these respiratory infections occur from the baby’s nose and mouth.” Details on how and how well that protection mode works are part of her MOMI-VAX study.

But for clarity, she adds: [the quantity of] Antibodies that pass through the placenta of the baby, that is, antibodies that enter the blood directly, have a small contribution from breast milk antibodies. “

That’s why Shu in Atlanta is worried. She says she sees many unvaccinated pregnant women, even in highly vaccinated communities.

“Too many people choose to wait for vaccination until after childbirth, and they really rely on immunity through breast milk to protect their babies,” says Shu. Nationally 1 in 4 pregnant According to the CDC, as of the end of August, he had been vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine at least once.

“The delta variant is transmitted as-is, so I really want my mother to be vaccinated before or during pregnancy,” says Shu.

3. Try to create a force field for the caregiver

In addition to providing antibodies that help fight the infection if the baby is exposed to the virus, parents can take advantage of other strategies to prevent the baby from being exposed from the beginning.

Many of these tricks have proven to work against other bacteria — babies have always been vulnerable to picking up viruses and other pathogens, especially early on. “The first month of a baby’s life is really delicate,” Shu explains. “If they get infected that month, it can get serious much sooner than older babies.”

Therefore, while pandemics are a particularly stressful time to protect the health of newborns, “the steps you give your family today are not surprisingly different from the steps you gave them 10 years ago,” says Puopolo.

In conclusion, regarding the people around the baby, he said: they It’s healthy, “Puopolo advises.

In the era of COVID-19, she says, it means “guaranteeing that anyone of any age will be vaccinated.” Parents need to be vaccinated. If you have grandparents, a nanny, or someone at home helping you raise a child, be sure to get vaccinated. She says that siblings who are eligible for shots should also be vaccinated.

Immunizing everyone around your baby acts like a force field. These people are less likely to get infected, which means they are less likely to take the virus home.

“Most of the time, what we’ve learned is that when babies get sick with respiratory illnesses such as the flu, COVID, and whooping cough, it’s because they’ve come into contact with someone in the house. [who’s sick]”Munoz explains.

Of course, vaccines are not a perfect shield, so it is wise to use several methods to combat COVID-19, such as wearing a mask when parents, caregivers, and siblings are in public. is. Ventilate your home and wash your hands frequently. Also, if your baby is in day care, Puopolo recommends discussing with staff whether they are following the same steps to minimize risk.

If the person at home with your baby is ill (illness, especially COVID-19), keep it as far away from your baby as possible. “It is highly recommended that sick people not be around the baby. They rarely kiss or face the baby,” says Munoz.

Muñoz recommends to parents or direct caregivers if they may be ill or have come up with something and feel that they are the only ones to take care of their baby Put a mask around your baby, Especially if you have symptoms. “In some cases, if you are at high risk of infection, it is advisable to completely isolate the sick person, whether it is a mother or a baby,” she adds. ..

4. Where to go (not) and to whom (not) to see

Life with a newborn is often a mixture of misery and fun — and there is definitely extra stress during the pandemic. Shu says let’s go for a walk with the baby, but don’t take the baby to a big gathering.

“I don’t want to put them in a lot of people,” she says. “If you want to meet guests, you might want them to visit you outside the house instead of inside the house. Anyone who wants to hug a baby is healthy, wash their hands, and probably wear a mask in this era. need to do it.”

In other words, “Keep away from the environment where your baby can catch something,” Puopolo advises, especially during the first few months of the baby.

5. Be aware of these warning signs for baby COVID-19

So far, the delta mutant is much more contagious than the original coronavirus mutant, but researchers are trying to figure out if it causes more serious illness in children and babies.

“Fortunately, in my practice, newborns and toddlers infected with COVID are doing well. They have cold symptoms and tend to recover,” says Shu. “That said, I’ve seen other babies with a fever that lasts for days from COVID. [and] I sometimes see some breathing problems that may require a trip to the hospital. “

Fever is a danger signal, especially for anyone in the first few months of life, says Puopolo. “If your baby’s fever exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, you should always contact your pediatrician or get first aid,” she says. “In addition to fever, I’m worried about how my baby is eating and how my baby is sleeping.” Sick babies tend to eat poorly and become dehydrated. There is also, she says.

“Therefore, signs of a cold, signs of fever, unresolved commotion, inadequate feeding-these are the reasons why you should always seek treatment for your baby without COVID or COVID,” says Puopolo.

Again, “the risk is low, but not zero,” Shu said, saying that babies develop serious complications from COVID-19.

So when are babies eligible to be vaccinated against this virus?

The ongoing clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine are only 6 months old. However, vaccine weight loss may be available at a younger age at some point, Muñoz says.

“When you look at some Guidance from the FDA Children under the age of six are not excluded from the very early stages of the pandemic, “she points out. “Therefore, they can be included. At this time, as far as I know, there are no studies evaluating vaccines at 0-6 months of age.”

Vaccines are graded by age, she explains. “We started in adults, then in adolescence, and now we’re working on the pediatric age group,” says Muñoz. “It will take some time before we go to newborns and the youngest babies, as we need to establish safety and efficacy in older groups.”

“So this is not outside [realm] It’s possible, “she says. “But that also takes some time.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. For more information, please visit





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