Vaccinating pregnant women against COVID is safe and protects the baby

When the vaccines against COVID-19 were available to the entire population, many women pregnant They had doubts and wondered if getting vaccinated could have any unwanted consequences for their future baby. Now, new research carried out by scientists at the University of Toronto (Canada) confirms that vaccination in pregnant women is safe for newborns.

“It is understandable that many women are nervous about receiving vaccines during pregnancy,” she told Newsweek the main author of the study, Sarah Jorgensen, researcher at the University of Toronto. “We hope our study gives you some reassurance about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy for newborns and young babies.”

The researchers analyzed data from 142,006 newborn babies in Ontario, Canada, 60% of whom (85,670) had been exposed to one or more doses of the mRNA vaccine against COVID during pregnancy. The results have been published in JAMA Pediatrics and have revealed that vaccination during pregnancy was associated with a lower risk of severe disease during the first 28 days after birth and with lower odds of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.

“Children born to mothers with COVID-19 infection maintained good protection until the third month of life, and children born to vaccinated mothers maintained this protection until the sixth month”

There was also no association between maternal vaccination during pregnancy and hospital readmission during the first 28 days after birth, or after six months. “We evaluated the safety of maternal COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy in newborns and infants and found no increase in adverse outcomes,” Jorgensen said. “Some of these outcomes actually improved in babies of mothers vaccinated during pregnancy.”

Vaccinating the mother against COVID improves the baby’s immunity

Pregnant women who suffer from severe COVID-19 run the risk of having pregnancy complications that could harm the fetus or newborn, which is why Jorgensen considers that the better results that have been found in the children of women vaccinated during pregnancy could be due because these vaccines have protected them against the most serious effects of the infection.

“Or it could be because women who receive the vaccine generally come from higher-income areas and have other health-related behaviors associated with better newborn and infant outcomes. The most likely thing is that both explanations are in some way responsible,” says the researcher.

In a previous study, this group of scientists also found that vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy protected babies from coronavirus infection during the first months of life. “Our research has focused specifically on the health effects on newborns and babies when mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy, but other researchers have found that the vaccines protect mothers from COVID-19 without increasing complications of the pregnancy,” Jorgensen said.

In fact, another recent investigation in which the Gregorio Marañón General University Hospitalfrom Madrid, has concluded that children born to women who were vaccinated against COVID-19 during pregnancy received a greater amount of antibodies that persist longer than neonates whose mothers were infected during pregnancy. The results of the study have been presented at the International Congress of Infectious Diseases ID Week 2023, held in Boston.

“We observed that children born to mothers with COVID-19 infection mostly maintained good protection until approximately the third month of life. For their part, children born to vaccinated mothers retained this protection until the sixth month,” he explained. Leire Pérez-Latorreassistant doctor of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases service and researcher at the Gregorio Marañón Health Research Institute (IiSGM) and CIBERINFECT.

For his part, Santiago Lizárraga, head of the Gregorio Marañón Obstetrics and Gynecology Service, endorses the benefits of vaccinating women during any stage of pregnancy as they are “a risk group that clearly benefits” from this action.

“Both from a maternal and fetal point of view, vaccination against COVID-19 has nothing but advantages: in all the time we have been vaccinating pregnant women, we have not seen any vaccine interactionsneither with pregnancy nor with the development of the fetus in the medium and long term,” he concludes.


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