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How to protect infants from COVID-19

Dr. Meena Iyer said fully vaccinated parents and visitors do not need to wear a mask around babies.

AUSTIN, Texas — Parents with a newborn baby already have enough to worry about, and the pandemic is just another obstacle. 

"It was already completely nerve-racking," said first-time mom Danielle Hall. "You could only have yourself and one other support person." 

Becoming a new mom is a beautiful journey, but it also has its hurdles. Keeping her newborn baby safe from COVID-19 was another. 

"I know a couple of people who have infants who did contract it," said Hall. "So it does worry me a lot. I try to do whatever I can to keep him safe, like social distancing and keeping him here at home." 

Researchers have made advancements in dealing with COVID-19, like developing vaccines for people 12 and over. 

Dell Children's Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meena Iyer said parents shouldn't let their guard down but should sleep better at night knowing, in most cases, infants have not gotten severely ill from COVID-19. 

"The severity of the illness has been very, very mild," said Dr. Iyer. "There are very few case reports of really sick infants really getting sick. Usually, it's very mild symptoms."

With COVID-19 still evolving, doctor Iyer said fully vaccinated parents and visitors, along with siblings under 12, do not need to wear a mask around babies. She said if visitors are not vaccinated, they shouldn't visit the baby.

"The rule applies to any other illness that are listed as sick, they're not feeling well, or if they're not being vaccinated for COVID, I would not have them come and visit the baby because they can still bring that illness," she said. 

Iyer said the best way for parents to protect their babies is to get vaccinated. She said washing your hands just like before the pandemic is still essential. 

As for Hall, she hopes a vaccine for babies will be approved soon. But, until then, 3-month-old Ridge will be sticking to the vaccinated family he knows. 

"I know it will be worth it in the long run," said Hall.

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