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Study: Vaccinated Moms-To-Be Pass COVID Antibodies To Babies

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There is some good news for women pregnant during the pandemic.

A new study found the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are very effective in protecting them and their babies.

St. Paul resident Katie Wolohan is seven months pregnant with her first child. She got her first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday. She qualified through work.

"I had a sore arm Friday, but then by yesterday I barely noticed it," Wolohan said. "To me, the risk of getting COVID was greater than any adverse effect from the vaccine."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pregnant women who get the disease are at higher risk for severe illness, including ICU admission and death, as well as adverse pregnancy outcomes. But that population was left out of the vaccine trials, which is standard when testing a new drug.

A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Thursday looked at 131 reproductive age women, most of whom were pregnant. The others were breastfeeding or not pregnant.

Researchers found antibody levels in all three groups were similar after receiving an mRNA vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna.

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(credit: CBS)

WCCO spoke with Allina Health infectious disease physician Dr. Frank Rhame.

"If anything higher than the antibody levels in women who got COVID," Rhame said.

Antibodies were also found in the umbilical cord blood of the babies from vaccinated mothers.

When asked about any theoretical or potential long-term side effects for babies of vaccinated pregnant women, Dr. Rhame said there is not yet evidence for long-term data, but that the risk of COVID outweighs any "small" theoretical risks of the vaccine.

"You can drive yourself crazy for theoretical side effects, with no mechanism that anybody can conceive that has not risen from any other vaccine in the history of time," Rhame said.

He recommends pregnant women have a discussion with their doctor about the vaccine and COVID to weigh their risks.

"If I were a pregnant woman I would guarantee you I would get vaccinated, and I would get vaccinated at the first possible moment," Rhame said.

The study also looked at the outcomes in breastfeeding women, and showed that antibodies were found in their breastmilk.

"It does bring me comfort that the baby will have some of his or her own antibodies hopefully," Wolohan said.

More than 60,000 women have reported to the CDC that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Fauci has said previously there have been no red flags.


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