NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Covid-19 Vaccination, Boosting During Pregnancy Protects Infants

Large purple blobs and wisps with large, bright green dots inside
Transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (colorized green), isolated from a patient sample

Photo:  NIAID

Women who receive an mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccination or booster during pregnancy can provide their infants with strong protection against symptomatic Covid-19 infection for at least six months after birth, according to an NIAID study. The findings were published in Pediatrics

Covid-19 is especially dangerous for newborns and infants. Even healthy infants are vulnerable to the virus and at risk for severe disease. 

Earlier research with pregnant volunteers showed that antibodies induced by an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine could be found in their newborn’s cord blood. This suggested the infants likely had some protection.

In this study, researchers analyzed data from 475 infants born while their pregnant mothers were enrolled in the MOMI-Vax study. The study took place at nine sites nationwide. It included infants whose mothers had received two doses of an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy as well as infants whose mothers received both vaccine doses and a booster. 

Blood samples from the infants revealed they had high antibody levels at birth and greater protection from Covid-19 infection during their first six months. Infants whose mothers received an additional booster dose while pregnant had higher levels of antibodies at their follow-up visits.

The current study reinforces the importance of receiving both a Covid-19 vaccine and booster during pregnancy to ensure infants are born with robust protection that lasts until they’re old enough to be vaccinated.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)