News Scan for Jan 05, 2022

News brief

Large study finds supports safety of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant women

A large multistate cohort study of more than 40,000 pregnant women and their nonpregnant peers found no link between COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and preterm or small-for-gestational-age births.

Authors from Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) sites and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported their findings yesterday in an early edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The VSD is a collaboration between the CDC and nine health groups and covers about 3% of the US population. Earlier studies that looked at COVID-19 vaccination were limited by small sample size and lack of a control group. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for pregnant women because those with symptomatic disease are known to be at increased risk for severe complications, including death.

The overall prevalence of preterm birth in vaccinated women was 6.6 per 100 live births, compared with 7.0 in those who hadn't been COVID-19 vaccinated during pregnancy. The level of small-for-gestational-age births was 8.2 per 100 births, the same as for unvaccinated women.

When the researchers looked at type of vaccines received and the trimester of vaccination, they found no links between use of mRNA vaccine or immunization during the first trimester to the two birth outcomes they studied.

"These data support the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future," the group wrote.
Jan 4 MMWR report


UK analysis finds fungal infection in COVID patients ups deaths, hospital stays

A review of fungal infections in British patients with lab-confirmed COVID-19 treated in National Health Service intensive care units (ICUs) found that aspergillosis and candidemia were most common. A team based at the country's Health Security Agency (HSA) described their findings yesterday in a letter to the Journal of Infection.

The researchers looked at data on patients with aspergillosis and candidemia reported between March 2020 and March 2021. They found 271 patients with candidemia and 119 with Aspergillus fumigatus.

When they compared the patients with the two conditions to those who didn't have the fungal coinfections, they found that each independently increased the risk of death from COVID-19. They also found a link between fungal coinfections and longer hospital stays.

"This data analysis further emphasises the importance of raised awareness, testing, rapid diagnosis, surveillance and prompt and appropriate treatment of fungal infections in severely ill patients with COVID-19," the team concluded.
Jan 4 J Infect report


Study finds no link between flu vaccination and COVID-19 risk

A large Danish study of more than 46,000 health workers found that flu vaccination didn't affect COVID-19 hospitalization or influence the development of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. A team based at the University of Copenhagen detailed their findings today in the Journal of Infection.

Researchers said they explored the links, due to speculation that flu vaccination might afford some protection against COVID-19, given that the two viruses produce similar host immune response. Also, some wondered whether flu vaccination might influence the risk of COVID-19 infection.

For the study, a cohort of 46,112 health workers were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and completed surveys on COVID-19 symptoms, hospitalization, and flu vaccination.

When they compared vaccinated to unvaccinated health workers, they found no difference in COVID-19 hospitalization or symptoms and no clinical difference in contracting COVID-19, as measured by the development of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
Jan 5 J Infect abstract

This week's top reads