COVID vaccines and boosters shown to protect pregnant women and newborns: ‘Transferred protection’

pregnant woman holding belly

This story appeared on Yahoo News. Read the full story here.

Getting a COVID vaccine or booster while pregnant can benefit both the mother and the baby, according to a new study published in the journal Vaccine.

Researchers from the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC) analyzed data from the Multisite Observational Maternal and Infant Study for COVID-19 (MOMI-VAX), which began in June 2021.

The MOMI-VAX study was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Our study supports that COVID-19 vaccination, and particularly booster doses, should be strongly recommended during pregnancy for maternal and neonatal protection,” the study authors wrote in the journal article.

The study tracked the levels of COVID antibodies in pregnant women who had received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

It also checked antibody levels in their cord blood after childbirth.

Researchers tested blood samples of 240 pregnant participants and their newborn babies. Out of that group, 167 pregnant women had gotten the two-dose vaccine series and 73 had received a booster dose.

The women who received the vaccines were found to have antibodies against multiple COVID variants, including Delta and Omicron, according to the journal entry discussing the study findings.

Their cord blood also contained the antibodies, confirming that they had crossed the placenta to offer protection for newborns.

Those who received a booster dose had “substantially more antibodies” against the virus, the researchers found.

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, did not participate in the study but echoed the researchers’ support of prenatal vaccination.

“Multiple studies have shown that COVID vaccination is safe during pregnancy and decreases severity of illness if you get COVID while pregnant,” he told Fox News Digital.

This is particularly important because pregnant women are more at risk of complications from COVID, the doctor pointed out.

“This latest research shows antibody response to vaccination in not only the pregnant woman but also in the newborn, which strongly implies transferred protection to the baby,” Siegel continued.

“It’s not proven yet when is the best time in pregnancy to give the vaccine, but any time is considered quite safe,” he added.

The CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated against COVID and receive boosters at the appropriate time — “including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or those who might become pregnant in the future,” per its website.

Looking ahead, the researchers said more studies are needed to pinpoint the optimal time during pregnancy in which to get vaccinated for maximum protection.

They also plan to study other elements of prenatal COVID vaccination, including the antibody levels in breast milk and in babies during the year after birth.

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