Health Advice



Pregnant moms, COVID-19 vaccines and babies' health

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Around 3.6 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2021. Brown is the most common eye color. Green is the least -- 9% of folks in America have green eyes. But 18% have hazel eyes, a combo of brown and green.

We all love these kinds of factoids. Well, there's another set I hope you take to heart. According to one Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, 38% of mothers-to-be do not get vaccinated against COVID-19, and that means they and their newborns are at increased risk of contracting the virus and ending up in the ICU when they get it.

The CDC points out that 84% of babies hospitalized with COVID-19 are born to women who weren't vaccinated during pregnancy. In contrast, babies less than 6 months old, whose pregnant mothers were vaccinated, are 61% less like to be hospitalized with COVID-19.

Unvaccinated moms-to-be are also putting themselves at risk. Compared to nonpregnant women who have symptomatic COVID-19, pregnant women who get COVID-19 have twice the risk of going to the ICU and being ventilated and a 70% increased risk of death.

So, when -- and with what vaccine -- should pregnant women get inoculated to protect themselves and their newborns? A study in Nature Communications found that Moderna and Pfizer were protective and vaccination in the first and third trimester enhanced maternal immune responses, while the fetus got the best transfer of COVID-19-fighting antibodies with first and second trimester vaccination. So, talk to your doc and protect yourself and your newborn with a first trimester vaccination.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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