CDC study says babies can get COVID-19 protection if mothers get vaccinated during pregnancy

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Posted at 6:54 AM, Feb 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-16 08:08:36-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday suggests getting vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy can protect the baby too.

Infants are at risk of getting COVID-19 related complications like respiratory failure.

The new CDC report showed that when pregnant women got two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, their babies had a 61% reduced risk for being hospitalized with COVID-19.

The report found the vaccine worked better the later a woman got vaccinated in pregnancy.

The research shows it was 32% effective after completing the vaccination series in early pregnancy and 80% effective later in pregnancy.

“If you’ve been vaccinated during pregnancy, sort of later in pregnancy you can actually be passing antibodies to your newborn child,” said Dr. Michael Teng, Virologist and Associate Professor for USF Health.

Experts said the vaccine is safe for expectant mothers and that there are no increased risks for miscarriages associated with the vaccination and no connection to infertility.

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“There wasn’t any increased problems in pregnancy due to the vaccine. In fact, if you do get COVID when you’re pregnant it’s much worse. There’s a really high mortality rate in that situation,” said Teng.

Researchers said maternal vaccination is really important to help protect babies possibly giving them antibodies up to their first six months of life.

According to the report, 88% of the sickest babies admitted to the hospital were born to mothers who were not vaccinated before or during pregnancy.

“Looking at antibody levels in newborns and they’ve actually found that those antibody levels are highly protective and actually protect them longer than we usually consider those antibodies in newborns,” said Dr. Christina Canody, BayCare Pediatric Service Line Medical Director.

The CDC is recommending women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant should get vaccinated.

“What we’ve seen is those COVID protective effects go on even longer. So that is a very important thing for expectant moms to consider in getting the vaccine while they’re pregnant because they’re not only protecting themselves, from a lot of complications of pregnancy including preterm delivery and higher severity of illness but they’re also protecting their unborn children,” said Canody.