Holds Off on Embryos and Gametes for Now
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendations for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday to include not only children ages 0 to 5, but also fetuses from age negative seven months until birth. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13-1 earlier Wednesday in favor of recommending Covid-19 immunizations for children and fetuses in both age groups, while postponing a decision on embryos aged negative nine months to negative seven months, and gametes of all ages and chromosomal genders.
“It is critical that we protect our fetuses from COVID-19 infection and the complications of severe disease,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a news release. “Today, I endorsed ACIP’s vote to expand eligibility and strengthen our recommendations for booster doses. We now recommend that all preschoolers, infants, and fetuses get fully vaxxed and boosted. This booster dose will provide optimized protection against COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, ensuring that no fetus is left behind.”
Walensky explained that fetuses typically inhabit small spaces with poor ventilation which elevates their risk of contacting COVID. Additionally, the recommended six feet of social distance between mother and fetus is almost impossible to maintain. What’s worse, many expectant mothers find it difficult to ensure that their fetuses wear their masks properly.
Walensky added that a decision on vaccine recommendations for embryos and gametes could come as early as April. After that, ACIP will consider whether couples who are considering having children but haven’t conceived yet should get imaginary vaccinations for the children of their dreams.