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How online Covid-19 vaccine misinformation left children vulnerable to Omicron

Protection from the womb 

The first week of January 2022 saw Texas Children's Hospital in Houston report 12 babies in intensive care with Covid-19.

Babies are too young for the Covid-19 shot, but Kathryn Gray, attending physician of maternal-fetal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, said research increasingly shows that vaccination during pregnancy leads to antibodies safely being transferred to the baby, offering limited protection.

Expectant mothers have also shown hesitancy to get the shot after they were excluded from initial clinical trials.

Gray is among those who are monitoring the situation. "To date there have been no safety signals" in the data, she said, adding that she has "a lot of confidence" in telling patients the shot is safe during pregnancy for mother and baby.

"If they truly want to protect their infants, getting vaccinated is the thing that will protect them the most at this time."

Health agencies across the globe say the same, but the initial lack of data continues to be exploited in vaccine-opposed messaging on social media. Posts on Facebook and Twitter claimed that stillbirths rose following the push to vaccinate pregnant people, even though going unprotected against the disease is the greater risk.

Epidemiologists Carla DeSisto and Sascha Ellington from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said data from 1.2 million US births showed "no evidence the rate of stillbirths is higher overall during the pandemic."

But their research did reveal the risks of contracting the virus while pregnant.

"Compared to pregnant people without Covid-19, pregnant people with Covid-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm birth and stillbirth," the

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