A study conducted in the United States suggests that pregnant women who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 transmit immunity to their children, especially if the injections are given later in pregnancy.
The analysis, conducted by researchers at several pediatric hospitals and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that a baby whose mother was vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 during pregnancy may have protection of up to 80 percent to prevent hospitalization by COVID-19.
The study consisted of analyzing the clinical data of 379 babies who were hospitalized for various diseases —including COVID-19—, from July 2021 to January 2022, in pediatric hospitals in the United States.
Of the sample, 176 infants were hospitalized for COVID-19, while the remaining 203 were admitted for other conditions.
The experts found that infants whose mothers were vaccinated between 21 weeks and 14 days before delivery had 80 percent protection from hospitalization. However, the protection fell to 32 percent for women who received the injection during the first trimester.
Despite the findings, the specialists said that it is necessary to carry out studies in larger samples in order to find conclusive results on the degree of protection that vaccines applied to pregnant women give to their babies, especially since vaccines against COVID- 19 are not yet licensed in neonates.
Despite this, Dana Meaney-Delman, one of the CDC experts who participated in the study, said that the message is clear: “As soon as a woman knows she is pregnant, she should get vaccinated,” she said.
The CDC also stressed the importance that mothers of newborns should continue to breastfeed, because although it has not been proven that antibodies to combat COVID-19 are transmitted through breast milk, this food is an invaluable source of nutrients.