Are NY Hospitals Not Letting Unvaccinated Parents Take Their Newborn Babies Home?

Current research says that the risk of a newborn getting COVID-19 from a parent is low.

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Wasp, Animal, Invertebrate

Claim

New York hospitals are not releasing babies to their unvaccinated parents, and are requiring parents to show a vaccine passport in order to have their child released from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) into their care.

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Another COVID-19 rumor began circulating in October 2021, claiming that hospitals in the state of New York were preventing unvaccinated parents from seeing or taking home their newborn babies. 

A number of posts on Facebook and Instagram made the rounds, prompting our readers to send us the following claim:

New Forced Control: NYU Langone and other Hospitals in New York and Long Island are Forcing that if the parent is not VAXXED they will not release Babies from the NICU to Parents or after birth as per CDC Guidelines. You Need to Show VAX-Passport to see your own New Born Baby.

New York hospitals not allowing unvaccinated parents to take newborn babies home?

New York hospitals refusing to release new born babies to unvaccinated parents

We reached out to the New York Department of Health about the above posts, and they flatly denied that such rules are in place. Spokesperson Abigail Barker released the following statement:

The New York State Department of Health is deeply disturbed by the grossly inaccurate messages being spread on social media regarding the false claim that there’s a prohibition on parents/guardians taking a baby home from the hospital based upon vaccination status. There is simply no truth to these claims. This is part of a larger dangerous misinformation campaign. This is why we continue to urge New Yorkers to please ignore the fiction and follow the science: COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective and are the best way to prevent serious illness.

New York University’s Langone Health also released a statement refuting the claims: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that newborn babies are not at high risk of contracting COVID-19, and has not prohibited parents from rooming with their baby while in the hospital: “Current evidence suggests that the chance of a newborn getting COVID-19 from their birth parent is low, especially when the parent takes steps (such as wearing a mask and washing hands) to prevent spread before and during care of the newborn.”

Even if a new parent has COVID-19, the CDC has the following guidelines for those in the hospital with their newborn:

If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following steps to reduce the chance of spreading the virus to your newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before holding or caring for your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are within 6 feet of your newborn.
  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can protect your newborn, such as using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.

We thus rate this claim as “False.” 

Sources: 
 
Barker, Abigail. “Media request from Snopes: New York hospitals not allowing unvaccinated parents into NICU.” New York Department of Health, 7 Oct. 2021. Email exchange. Accessed 7 Oct. 2021.
 
CDC. “Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns If You Have COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Aug. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html. Accessed 7 Oct. 2021.