I subscribe to a publication called MedpageToday. This is an excellent way to follow what is going on in the mainstream medical discussion, not least to understand better what is wrong with it.
This week it published a piece on the benefits to infants from vaccination during pregnancy, reported in a study published in NEJM on June 22nd (with a linked editorial about how vaccination during pregnancy is “two for the price of one”). In the introduction, the study authors make the following claim: “Infants younger than six months of age are at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”
This came as a surprise, so I checked the source they cite in support of this statement. In short, the source tells us nothing about risk of hospitalisation from contracting COVID-19. All it tells us is the number of hospitalised infants over time per 100,000 in the population, which shows that early January this year, during a surge of Omicron infections, there was of course also a spike in infant hospitalisations; if we look at the general trends we see this in all age-groups. This has nothing to do with the hospitalisation risk of infection at all.
Are infants really at “high risk for complications” of COVID-19? In the general population, the probability of hospitalisation following a Covid infection according to the U.S. CDC in October 2021 was around 5%; this means one in every 20 people infected was admitted to hospital. After Omicron took over, this number went down by 50-70%, to between 1.5-2.5%. And if we look at the latest CDC estimate on relative risk between age groups, children up to 17 have the lowest risk of hospitalisation. For infants in particular, the risk of hospitalisation is about one tenth the risk for the oldest age-group. It might be added that their risk of death is less than 1/330 (0.3%) of the oldest age-group. This is very low risk, not high risk.
Still, according to the authors of this study, infants are “at high risk for complications of coronavirus disease 2019“, contrary to all evidence, referring to a source that doesn‘t address the matter.