According to Dr. Clyde Cave, the number of cases where the COVID virus has been proven to be transmitted from mother to child, as opposed to catching the virus after birth, are extremely small. (Stock photo)

Director of Medical Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and paediatrician, Dr. Clyde Cave, has stated that while it is theoretically possible for COVID-19 to be transmitted from mother to child, “this does not seem to happen”.

Dr. Cave was responding to the question: Are there any known effects of either the COVID-19 virus or the COVID-19 vaccination from a pregnant mother to an unborn child?”

His answer came during the final town hall meeting on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, held at the Combermere School.

He explained that there has been a lot of concern about this, vulnerable people – newborns, children and pregnant women –  and noted that they are “among the most studied people before they are given approval for the vaccine to be used”.

“The number of cases where it has been proven to be transmitted – COVID virus – from mother to child, as opposed to catching the virus after birth are extremely, extremely small; we’re talking about single digits.  Where this has been so, for all intents and purposes, there is no transmission from mother to child,” Dr. Cave stated.

He continued: “However, it is an infectious virus, so there is the possibility after birth that an infected mother can transmit to the child.  This is, however, so small, as we have learned from experience, where COVID positive mothers have had children that initially we would separate them. 

“But it was found that rooming in with the mother and child in the same room, continuing breastfeeding with only a mask worn during that interaction has not resulted in a conversion of those babies to any kind of symptomatic disease.  So, while it is theoretically possible, the practical answer is no, this does not seem to happen.  And we’re very lucky that that seems to be the situation.”

The paediatrician also weighed in on the subject of giving children, aged 12 and over, a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Children can have the vaccine both for their protection, and for the protection of the society.  They can be vectors and bring home the disease to vulnerable people within their household and that has been a concern….  And I think our experience now certainly is that it is safe for children whose immune system have matured, usually around the age of puberty, that’s why we’re using 12 and beyond.

“There have been no signals that it is unsafe or there are bad side effects.  So while the child themselves, if we were to balance the risk, will have a very small chance, the risk to the society and the family is what you would consider,” Dr. Cave said.

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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