A study released Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that infants are less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 if their mothers are vaccinated during their pregnancy.
The study found that babies whose mothers received two doses of an mRNA vaccine while pregnant were about 60% less likely to be hospitalized for the virus during their first six months of life. The odds are strengthened if the mother is vaccinated after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The agency has urged all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, which it says increases the risk of a variety of complications, including premature birth and stillbirth.
The CDC researchers based their conclusions from monitoring 379 infants who had been hospitalized at 20 pediatric hospitals across the U.S. between last July and January of this year, including 176 who tested positive for COVID-19.
In another vaccine-related development, Britain’s Health Security Agency says the results of several studies suggests a COVID-19 vaccine reduces the chances of someone suffering from the lingering effects of a COVID-19 infection, a condition commonly known as “long COVID,” according to The Guardian newspaper.
The agency came to its conclusion after examining data from 15 studies conducted at home and abroad, half of which looked at whether the vaccine could protect someone from developing long COVID if they had not been infected, with the others focusing on the effect of vaccination among people who were already suffering from long COVID.
The HSA researchers found that those who have received one or two doses of a vaccine are less likely to develop long COVID symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, hair loss, shortness of breath or loss of smell, compared with those who are unvaccinated. The review also said there was evidence that unvaccinated people suffering from long COVID had fewer or reduced symptoms once they were vaccinated, compared to those who remained unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, South Korea says its daily number of new COVID-19 cases has risen above 90,000 for the first time Wednesday. The 90,443 new infections reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency was a dramatic increase from the 57,164 new cases from Tuesday.
Despite the increasing number of new cases driven by the highly-contagious omicron variant, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said the government may soon ease current coronavirus restrictions, including lifting a 9 p.m. curfew on restaurants, cafes and bars, and ending the cap on the number of people allowed for private gatherings at six.
In the United States, the administration of President Joe Biden has told key lawmakers that it needs an additional $30 billion to fund its COVID-19 response efforts.
The extra spending requested by President Biden comes nearly a year after passage of the massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan aimed at helping the U.S. economy recover from the pandemic. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that while the administration continues to have “sufficient funds” to respond to the current omicron-driven surge, “our goal has always been to ensure that we are well prepared to stay ahead of the virus.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.