Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said Wednesday they are expecting data from trials testing Covid-19 vaccines on pregnant women this summer and on children as young as 6 months old by the end of the year.
Principal Deputy Director of the CDC Dr. Anne Schuchat told lawmakers that they’ve already received “reassuring data” on vaccines given to women in their third trimester. “We’ll be expecting this summer to have even more data particularly about vaccines given earlier in pregnancy,” Schuchat said at a Senate hearing on the agency’s annual budget.
Although the vaccines haven’t been cleared for use in pregnant women yet, Schuchat said pregnant women should have access to the vaccines because they can get sicker from Covid than other people.
“Women who are pregnant and get Covid have worse experiences with the infection than do non-pregnant women,” Schuchat said. “More time in the intensive care unit, more risk of severe outcomes including those rare deaths. Covid also complicates pregnancy by increasing the risk of prematurity and leading to other types of complications.”
Schuchat also said new data shows vaccinated mothers can transfer their Covid antibodies to their babies while breastfeeding.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the White House separately said Wednesday that “the baby would get, during the pregnancy period through the placenta, antibodies against the virus” that lasts a few months after birth, he said. Fauci, speaking in an interview with Axios, also said mothers can transfer their Covid antibodies while breastfeeding, thereby extending their babies’ immunity.
Children under 12 “would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of calendar year 2021, and at the latest into the first quarter of 2022,” he said.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told lawmakers that “vaccines are coming for youth, they’re doing dose de-escalation studies now down to 9 years old soon thereafter down to 6 then down to 3 then down to 6 months … hoping to have more by late fall and end of the year.”