COVID Shot Earlier in Pregnancy Better for Baby

TUESDAY, March 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) – The earlier a pregnant woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine, the more likely she is to transfer protective antibodies to her baby, a new small study suggests.

“It just gives extra fuel to people who are on the fence or just thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll wait until after I give birth,’” said study co-author Dr Emily Miller. She is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Physician in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Northwestern University School of Medicine.

“We strongly recommend that you get vaccinated during pregnancy. But if you are concerned that the vaccination could harm the baby, this data tells us quite the opposite. The vaccine is a mechanism to protect your baby, and the sooner you get it the better, ”Miller said in a college press release.

The researchers analyzed the blood of 27 pregnant women who had received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine during their third trimester. They also analyzed the umbilical cord blood of their 28 newborn babies (26 singletons, a pair of twins).

The women had a strong immune response after the vaccination, which suggests that the vaccines protect pregnant women from COVID-19, according to the study.

He also found that a longer delay between vaccination and childbirth was associated with greater transfer of COVID-19 antibodies to the baby.

Only three of the infants (including twins) in the study had no antibodies at birth. Both of their mothers received their first COVID vaccine less than three weeks before childbirth.

The study also found that mothers who received a second dose of the two-dose vaccines before delivery were more likely to transfer COVID-19 antibodies to their babies.

In a study previously published by another institution, researchers analyzed 10 umbilical cord samples and obtained similar results.

There are, however, a number of issues that require further study.

Since COVID-19 vaccines did not become available until the end of last year, it is not known whether vaccinating women even earlier in their pregnancy would result in greater transfer of antibodies to their babies, but Miller thinks it will.

She also said it was too early to say how much or for how long the antibodies transferred from mothers to babies would protect babies after childbirth.

It is also unclear how pregnancy complications might affect the transfer of antibodies from vaccinated mothers to their babies.

The results were published on April 1 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

SOURCE: Northwestern Medicine, press release, April 1, 2021

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