Ontario hospitals warn of rise in infant COVID-19 admissions

Jan 6 2022, 4:37 pm

Ontario children’s hospitals have come together to warn parents about a rise in infant COVID-19 hospital admissions in the province.

CHEO, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), McMaster Children’s Hospital and Kingston Health Sciences Centre put out a statement urging pregnant individuals to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies.

“With the rise of Omicron, hospitals are starting to see a disturbing, potential new trend — admissions of infants with COVID-19,” the statement reads.

Getting vaccinated while pregnant can help provide some immunity to the baby.

“It is well studied in other infectious diseases such as flu and whooping cough (pertussis) that maternal antibodies resulting from vaccination provide protection for the first six months of a child’s life,” according to the hospitals.

Pregnant people are at higher risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19, so getting vaccinated while pregnant will help protect both the parent and baby.

“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 statement says.

CHEO, based in Ottawa, said that they’d seen six babies under the age of 12 months admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 since December. The hospital said that none of the infants’ birthing parents had been vaccinated.

“Infants are especially at risk because they have an immature immune system that has difficulty combatting disease,” the statement said.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

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