A recent government study has discovered that when pregnant women receive a COVID vaccine, it can provide protection against the virus for their newborn babies. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers stated that these findings suggest that maternal vaccination during pregnancy could potentially prevent COVID-19-related hospitalizations in infants who are too young to receive the vaccine themselves.
The study revealed that antibodies produced as a result of COVID vaccination were present in the placenta and cord blood. This indicates that the vaccine’s protective effects can be passed on to the baby. It was observed that maternal vaccination was 54% effective in preventing COVID hospitalization in infants under three months old, a particularly vulnerable stage of life. Furthermore, even in infants aged three to five months, the vaccine still provided 35% protection when their mothers received it during pregnancy.
The data for the study was collected from 26 pediatric hospitals until May 2023 and published in the CDC publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The study highlighted that infants have had some of the highest rates of hospitalization due to COVID infections since the winter of 2022.
Various organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have been urging pregnant women to get vaccinated. These recommendations are supported by multiple studies that show the COVID vaccine can reduce the risk of severe illness for both the mother and the baby. It is important to note that while the risks for pregnant women who contract COVID are low overall, there is a higher risk of complications, including stillbirth.
In addition to COVID vaccination, pregnant women are also advised to receive the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine and the new RSV vaccine to further protect themselves and their babies.
Overall, this study provides reassuring evidence that COVID vaccination during pregnancy can confer benefits to newborns, reducing their risk of hospitalization. It underscores the importance of pregnant women getting vaccinated and following the recommendations of healthcare professionals to safeguard the health of both themselves and their babies.
– Regina M. Simeone et al, “Effectiveness of Maternal mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination During Pregnancy Against COVID-19–Associated Hospitalizations in Infants Aged 6 Months During SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Predominance—20 States, March 9, 2022–May 31, 2023,” MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2023). DOI: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7239a3
– CBS News