A group of Ontario hospitals is urging pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing a recent trend of infant hospitalizations due to the disease.
Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, McMaster Children’s Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Kingston Health Sciences Centre made a joint statement on the issue.
“With the rise of Omicron, hospitals are starting to see a disturbing, potential new trend — admissions of infants with COVID-19,” the statement released on Wednesday said.
The group says six babies younger than 12 months have been admitted to Hamilton and Ottawa facilities because of COVID-19 since the middle of December.
They say all infants admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa had unvaccinated mothers.
The group of hospitals say infants’ immune systems have difficulty fighting disease especially without maternal antibodies transferred during pregnancy from vaccination.
Their statement says research out of the Ottawa children’s hospital has shown no adverse pregnancy outcomes in Ontario from COVID-19 vaccines, but vaccination coverage has remained lower among pregnant people than the general population.
Pregnant people urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19
“Pregnant individuals are considered a high-risk population for COVID-19 complications, based on higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization, ICU admission, and death compared with non-pregnant individuals of the same age,” the hospitals said.
“As a result, pregnant individuals are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, not only to protect themselves, but also their babies, who receive antibodies from their mothers during pregnancy.”
— with files from Global News’ Saba Aziz
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