Maternal vaccination protects the unborn child

New study shows maternal vaccination during pregnancy reduces the risk of COVID-19 in newborns. Findings reveal that antibodies passed on from vaccinated mothers provide early protection for infants in the first four months of life. Explore the research and its implications.

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If the mother is vaccinated during pregnancy, there is a reduced chance of the child developing COVID-19 within the first four months of life. This is according to a new study by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health's Centre for Fertility and Health.


“This is good news for expectant moms who may have passed on antibodies to their baby if they were vaccinated while pregnant, giving them early protection from infection,” says Ellen Øen Carlsen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and study co-author of the discovery published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

At present, no coronavirus vaccines are licensed for youngsters under the age of five. Infants face a higher chance of developing a severe illness period than more aged children, making them more vulnerable. There is a double benefit if the mother can immunize herself during pregnancy and thereby protect her child for the first few months of life.

Over 20,000 infants have been observed


The researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, in collaboration with Tropical Medicine and the University of Ottowa, and the London School of Hygiene, looked at data from the COVID-19 register of the Norwegian emergency preparedness register (Beredt C19).

The study is based on the data of 21,643 infants born in Norway between September 2021 and February 2022. The infants were tracked for four months, or until April 4, 2022. A total of 9739 of these children were born to a mother who received her second or third shot of Pfizer or Moderna's mRNA vaccine during the second or third pregnancy term. The researchers made a comparison between these kids and those born to moms who didn't get vaccines before or during pregnancy.

Protection for four months


In the first four months after birth, COVID-19 immunity was found to be present in infants whose mothers were vaccinated during pregnancy. This is most likely due to the fact that the antibodies generated after immunization are passed on to the baby, and that they remain in the system for a few months after delivery. Apart from that, there is some evidence that the child's immunity may be transferred via breastmilk, or that the baby is protected indirectly since his or her mother has a decreased chance of catching the virus herself.

To see whether the connection was altered for the delta and omicron coronavirus mutants, the timeframe was divided into two halves: before and after the new year.

“At the time when the delta variant was most prevalent, we discovered that the pronounced shielding impact on the baby through maternal vaccination was highest. This is also consistent with how vaccines work in non-pregnant women,” Carlsen adds.


It's also critical to keep an eye on pregnant women and children

American research has examined the effect of coronavirus vaccination on the risk of COVID-19 hospitalization in children under the age of six months, in addition to a new study from researchers at the Centre for Fertility and Health.

The US Centers for Disease Control conducted this research. Infants born to vaccinated mothers had a reduced risk of hospitalization in the COVID-19. This is consistent with the Norwegian research, which examined disease in general and not specifically at the risk of hospitalization.


“The fact that both studies suggest a protective benefit from motherhood vaccination is encouraging,” Carlsen said.

It's particularly vital to follow these groups, both via vaccinations of expectant women and through vaccine transmission to their infants, since they aren't usually involved in vaccine research.

COVID-19 vaccination does not increase the risk of pregnancy problems, according to researchers at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This study backs up the advantage of inoculating expectant women.

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