COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy reduces infant risk

June 9, 2022
COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy reduces infant risk

A study of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant women has found rare cases of infection in the newborns, as well as what appears to be a lowered risk of coronavirus infection. Furthermore, infants of women who received a booster shot during pregnancy had an even lower risk of COVID-19 than those of women who received just the original two-shot regimen.

“This could imply that women who got vaccinated before pregnancy with two doses should consider receiving a booster dose during the last parts of pregnancy,” said Dr. Ellen Oen Carlsen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Norwegian researchers tracked almost 9,740 babies whose mothers received a second or third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna while pregnant, and another 11,904 babies whose mothers were not vaccinated before or during pregnancy.

They found the risk of a positive COVID-19 PCR (polymerase chain-reaction) test during the first four months of life was 71% lower during the coronavirus variant “Delta” era and 33% lower during “Omicron” for infants whose mothers got vaccinated during pregnancy, compared with infants born to unvaccinated mothers.

“There could still be a protective effect from antibodies past the first four months, but there are likely individual differences,” said Dr. Carlsen, who noted that infants also get another type of antibodies from breast milk – the findings could partly be due to antibodies acquired from breastfeeding, or because vaccinated mothers are less likely to get COVID-19 and infect their babies.

Meanwhile, a US study suggests vaccines only modestly lowers the risk of developing long COVID after infection with the coronavirus – by only about 15%. The study leaders have advised against relying on these vaccines as the sole line of defence when dealing with COVID-19.

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COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy reduces infant risk

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