COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be successful in reducing the severity of illness and death among pregnant women. Vaccination has led to significant declines in hospitalization, ICU admissions, and deaths in pregnant individuals compared to those who have not been vaccinated. The antibodies generated as a result of the vaccine are effective in targeting the spike antigen of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are transferred to the fetus via the placenta.
However, the level of protection conferred by maternal vaccination against COVID-19 in preterm infants remains unclear. A recent study published in JAMA Network Open aimed to investigate the levels of maternal-origin antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in preterm babies.
The study included a prospective cohort of pregnant women who had received two or more doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before delivery. Blood samples were collected from both the mothers and their newborns to measure and compare the concentrations of anti-spike antibodies.
The results showed that maternal blood antibody concentrations were higher in pregnancies that ended prematurely compared to full-term deliveries. However, cord blood antibody levels were lower in preterm infants, leading to a lower cord-to-maternal antibody ratio in preterm deliveries.
Significantly, the study found that infants born to women who received three or more vaccine doses had cord blood antibody levels ten times higher than those born to women who received only two doses. Moreover, there was no significant difference in antibody levels between preterm and full-term deliveries.
The findings suggest that while preterm infants have lower levels of cord blood antibodies, administering additional vaccine doses before delivery can increase the final concentration of antibodies. Therefore, it is recommended that women at risk of preterm delivery receive a booster dose before the third trimester, while others may receive it approximately 10 weeks before their estimated delivery date.
In conclusion, maternal vaccination against COVID-19 plays a crucial role in protecting pregnant individuals and their newborns. By understanding the impact of vaccination on preterm infants, healthcare providers can make informed decisions regarding the timing and dosage of vaccines to optimize protection for both mother and baby.
An FAQ section based on the main topics and information presented in the article:
Q: What has the study found about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnant women?
A: The study found that COVID-19 vaccines are successful in reducing the severity of illness and death among pregnant women. Vaccination leads to declines in hospitalization, ICU admissions, and deaths compared to those who are unvaccinated.
Q: How are antibodies from the vaccine transferred to the fetus?
A: The antibodies generated as a result of the vaccine are transferred to the fetus via the placenta.
Q: What does the study say about the levels of maternal-origin antibodies in preterm infants?
A: The study found that preterm infants have lower levels of cord blood antibodies compared to full-term infants.
Q: How do additional vaccine doses affect the antibodies in preterm infants?
A: The study found that infants born to women who received three or more vaccine doses had cord blood antibody levels ten times higher than those born to women who received only two doses.
Q: What is the recommendation regarding booster doses for women at risk of preterm delivery?
A: It is recommended that women at risk of preterm delivery receive a booster dose before the third trimester to increase the concentration of antibodies.
Definitions for key terms or jargon used within the article:
SARS-CoV-2: The virus responsible for causing COVID-19.
ICU: Intensive Care Unit, a specialized department in a hospital that provides intensive care treatment for patients with severe illness or injury.
Prospective cohort: A study design that follows a group of individuals over time to study a specific outcome.
Suggested related link:
COVID-19 Vaccines – World Health Organization