TAMPA, Fla. - In a newly released report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found hospitalization for COVID-19 among babies younger than six months is on the rise.
The report looked at COVID-19 associated hospitalizations from June 2021-August 2022. It found infants younger than six months are being hospitalized at higher levels, especially with the Omicron variant.
"Delta certainly made people more sick, the severity of the illness was higher. Omicron, the severity was not as high but the number of people who were infected and the ease with which infection happened was much higher," Dr. Anjali Kaimal, a University of South Florida Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist, said.
The CDC said this emphasizes the need for pregnant women to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations to help protect themselves and infants too young to be vaccinated.
"We know that getting vaccinated during pregnancy helps to protect the newborn during those times when they can't get a vaccination themselves. And we have not had any concerns about complications or risks to the mom or to the baby," Kaimal said.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital said the findings in the report are in line with what they’ve seen at the hospital this year. They said it’s crucial to protect children from COVID-19 and other viruses during the winter months, which include the flu and RSV.
"If there's anything that we can do to decrease the chance of them catching and ending up in the hospital with any of these viruses, we would want to try to do that and for COVID, its vaccinating adults," Dr. Juan Dumois, Pediatric Infectious Diseases' physician, said.
Doctors said even if you’ve had the initial vaccine, it’s beneficial to get the updated booster during pregnancy because immunity wanes over time.