Nine-day-old child tested positive for coronavirus before dying, days after her mother became infected.
A British baby born prematurely to a woman who contracted COVID-19 during late pregnancy has died, according to media reports.
Katie Leeming, 22, tested positive for coronavirus last month while heavily pregnant after she began experiencing cold symptoms in early October.
Within a week, Leeming said she could no longer feel her baby move and contacted her local hospital in northern England.
Doctors delivered the baby, named Ivy-Rose, by emergency cesarean section on Oct. 13 after raising concerns about reduced movement in the womb.
Ivy-Rose, who was 14 weeks premature, weighed 990g (2lb 3oz) at birth.
She was transferred to a specialized neonatal care unit with a series of complications, including a pulmonary hemorrhage and a brain hemorrhage.
When she was about five days old, she tested positive for COVID-19. She died four days later.
Her death certificate lists the causes of death as extreme preterm birth at 26 weeks, severe respiratory distress syndrome, maternal COVID positive and infant COVID positive, as well as intraventricular hemorrhage.
“We got a call on the evening of day eight that we had to go to the hospital because they didn’t think Ivy-Rose would make it through the night,” Leeming told the UK news website.
“They took her hand and footprints in front of her memory box and Ivy-Rose died on October 22 at 1:30 am. We were absolutely devastated and it still hasn’t sunk in,” she said.
Leeming had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, which is currently once again sweeping the UK.
She chose not to get vaccinated after talking to other pregnant women.
“I felt that not enough research had been done on the impact of the vaccine during pregnancy and whether it would affect the baby,” Leeming told i news.
Leeming added that she would not reconsider her decision after Ivy-Rose’s death, citing cases where relatives and others have been infected with COVID-19 even after being fully vaccinated.
“I can’t begin to think like that because who knows what would have happened if I’d had the vaccine and I might still have COVID and get sick,” she said.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) says women can be safely vaccinated against COVID-19 and should be given the shots produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
“This is because they have been used more widely during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety concerns,” says the NHS guideline.
Leeming’s case highlights the dangers of the pandemic as the UK enters winter.
The country has struggled to contain COVID-19 in recent months, despite initial success in rolling out a mass vaccination program earlier this year.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said on Tuesday the UK would make it mandatory for all frontline National Health Service (NHS) personnel in England to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 1.
“We need to prevent avoidable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS and of course protect the NHS itself,” Javid told parliament.
The move follows a similar decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for healthcare workers, which will take effect on Thursday.