COVID-19 vaccines effective for pregnant women, likely protect their babies too: Study

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are extremely effective at protecting pregnant and lactating women against the virus, and likely provide protection for their babies as well, according to a study published March 25 in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, examined data from 131 vaccine recipients, including 84 who were pregnant, 31 who were breastfeeding and 16 who weren't pregnant. The study is the largest to date to examine the responses of pregnant and lactating women to COVID-19 vaccines. Participants received vaccines produced by either Pfizer or Moderna, both of which are mRNA vaccines.

Researchers found pregnant and nursing women receive as much protection from vaccines as non-pregnant women, and that vaccine-induced immune responses were significantly greater than the response to natural infection.

There was no sign their babies were harmed by the vaccine, and side effect profiles were virtually identical between pregnant and non-pregnant women, co-authors Galit Alter, PhD,  professor of medicine at Boston-based Harvard Medical School, and Andrea Edlow, MD, member of the obstetrics and gynecology faculty at Harvard Medical School and maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told USA Today.

The babies born to mothers vaccinated during pregnancy had antibodies to COVID-19, Drs. Alter and Edlow told USA Today, adding that it isn't known what antibody levels protect against disease, but the babies likely had enough to be protected for at least some time.


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