New study gives hope to pregnant women about the coronavirus vaccine

A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Ragon Institute is giving hope to pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding in protecting babies against the coronavirus.

The study says that the coronavirus is more severe in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women, “with an increased risk of hospital admission, ICU stay, and death.” Yet pregnant women were not included in the pharmaceutical companies’ clinical trials.

The largest study of its kind so far, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, says that mothers who are vaccinated against COVID-19 pass along antibodies to babies in the womb and via breast milk.

They’re “the first robust data we have,” researchers said. While the study answered key questions, there are still many more.

Eighty-four pregnant women, 31 nursing women and 16 non-pregnant women were enrolled in the study at two academic medical centers between Dec. 17, 2020 and Feb. 23, 2021. They all received either Pfzier or Moderna, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Researchers found that the antibody responses were equivalent in pregnant and nursing women compared to non-pregnant women. They also found significantly higher levels of antibodies from vaccination as opposed to those who got the coronavirus naturally.

Next, researchers will track infants born to vaccinated mothers to help determine at what point during pregnancy is a vaccination optimal.