News Scan for Jun 23, 2022

Maternal COVID vaccine protection
Long COVID in US adults
Flu vaccine in elderly

Data show moderate protection in infants born to COVID-vaccinated moms

Maternal COVID vaccination during pregnancy provides 52% protection against COVID-19 hospitalization in infants but only 38% protection against Omicron hospitalization, according to a study yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Protection against an intensive care unit (ICU) stay, however, was 70%.

The case-control study included 537 case infants (181 hospitalized for COVID-19 during the Delta period and 356 during Omicron) and 512 control infants who did not have COVID. The median age of both groups was 2 months, and 19% of the case infants and 24% of the control infants had at least one underlying health condition.

Among the case infants, 113 (21%) required intensive care, 64 of whom received mechanical ventilation or vasoactive infusions. Two infants born to unvaccinated mothers died from COVID-19.

The researchers determined that the effectiveness of maternal vaccination with two doses of mRNA vaccine against hospitalization for COVID-19 in infants overall was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 33% to 65%), but fell from 80% (95% CI, 60% to 90%) during Delta to 38% (95% CI, 8% to 58%) during Omicron. Effectiveness was 69% (95% CI, 50% to 80%) for vaccination after 20 weeks of pregnancy and 38% (95% CI, 3% to 60%) for earlier in the pregnancy.

Protection was 70% (95% CI, 42% to 85%) against admission to an ICU and 47% (95% CI, 25% to 62%) against non-ICU hospitalization.

In a related editorial, Sonja Rasmussen, MD, from the University of Florida, and Denise Jamieson, MD, MPH, from Emory University, said, "This evidence that Covid-19 vaccines help to protect infants as well as mothers is highly relevant for patient counseling: a 'two-for-one' deal may encourage more mothers to receive Covid-19 vaccination."

A letter in the same journal, meanwhile, details no increase in serious events among 45,232 pregnant women who had received one or two doses of a COVID vaccine immediately before or during pregnancy. The data are from eight US Vaccine Safety Datalink sites from women vaccinated from Dec 15, 2020, through Jul 1, 2021.
Jun 22 N Engl J Med study, editorial, and letter


1 in 5 US adults experience COVID-19 symptoms 3 months after infection

A new survey of US adults shows 1 in 5 have experienced lingering symptoms of COVID-19 that have persisted for at least 3 months, suggesting long COVID is a common phenomenon after acute infection.

The survey was conducted by the US Census Bureau this month, and results were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC). Forty percent of those polled said they had been infected with COVID-19, with 1 in 13 of all US adults experiencing long COVID symptoms at the time they were surveyed. These symptoms can include brain fog, headache, and muscle pain.

The United States reported 184,074 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 860 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The 7-day average of new daily cases is 97,069, with 298 daily deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.

As vaccines for the youngest Americans are now available, Tennessee lawmakers are urging Gov Bill Lee to delay the state's health department from distributing and promoting the COVID-19 vaccines to children under 5, the Associated Press (AP) reports.

The lawmakers argue that the pandemic is no longer an emergency in the state.
CDC long covid
Johns Hopkins University
New York Times
Jun 22 AP


CDC experts votes to recommend high-dose flu vaccines for seniors

Yesterday the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously recommended the use of high-dose influenza seasonal vaccine for Americans 65 years and older, owing to the waning immunity seen in this age-group with standard-dose vaccines.

This is the first time the group has recommended a certain flu vaccine for those 65 and older.

Currently there are three such vaccines on the market, Fluzone High-Dose, Fluad with an immune booster, or Flublok, which is made with insect cells instead of chicken eggs, AP reports.

Sanofi, which makes Fluzone, released a new survey this week showing that 66% of US healthcare providers would recommend high-dose flu vaccines to senior patients

The CDC is expected to follow ACIP's recommendation with an endorsement of its own in the coming days.
Jun 22 AP
Jun 22 Sanofi
press release

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