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CDC study suggests Vaccination During Pregnancy protects newborns against COVID-19

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A recent CDC study suggests that infants born to fully vaccinated mothers are passed on Covid-19 antibodies during pregnancy protecting them against the virus.

Using a test-negative, case-control study design, vaccine performance was assessed by comparing the odds of having completed a 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccination series during pregnancy among mothers of case-infants and control-infants (those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results). Participating infants were aged 6 months or less and admitted outside of their birth hospitalization to one of 20 pediatric hospitals during July 1, 2021–January 17, 2022. 

Mothers were considered vaccinated against COVID-19 if they completed a 2-dose series of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, based on source documentation or by plausible self-report (provision of vaccination dates and location). 

Completion of a 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccination series during pregnancy was associated with reduced risk for COVID-19–associated hospitalization among infants aged 6 months or less, and protection was higher among infants whose mothers were vaccinated later in pregnancy. Additional evaluation should examine timing of vaccination before pregnancy compared with during pregnancy. CDC recommends that women who are pregnant, are breastfeeding, are trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future get vaccinated and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.

The findings in this report are subject to at least seven limitations. First, Viral Efficacy (VE) could not be assessed directly against specific variants. Second, the sample was too small to assess VE by pregnancy trimester of vaccination, and the small sample size resulted in wide confidence intervals for some estimates that should be interpreted with caution. Third, the analysis did not assess whether pregnant women were infected with SARS-CoV-2 before or during pregnancy, which might have provided maternal antibodies. Fourth, residual confounding such as additional differences in behaviors between vaccinated and unvaccinated mothers, including whether mothers had prenatal care, that might affect risk for infection cannot be excluded, and potential confounders (e.g., breastfeeding, child care attendance, and prematurity) could not be accounted for in the model because this information was not available for all infants. Fifth, because this analysis included self-reported data for a few participants, maternal vaccination status might be misclassified for a few infants, or there might be imperfect recollection of whether the mother completed COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Sixth, immunocompromising maternal conditions were not collected to determine whether mothers needed an additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose to complete their primary series. Finally, VE of maternal booster doses received during pregnancy could not be assessed because of small sample size.

The full CDC report can be seen here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7107e3.htm?s_cid=mm7107e3_w

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