COVID-19 Boosters Administered to Pregnant Women Can Protect Newborns, Study Says

Feb. 19, 2024
Infants under six months old cannot receive a vaccine currently, making this an important safeguard against infection

According to a new study, women who receive an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination or booster during pregnancy provide their infants with strong protection against COVID-19 for at least six months after birth.

COVID-19 vaccines are not currently available to infants under six months old, and COVID-19 infections are especially dangerous for newborns and young adults.

This study, published in Pediatrics, builds upon prior research from the Multisite Observational Maternal and Infant COVID-19 Vaccine (MOMIv-Vax) study, which “revealed that when pregnant volunteers received both doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, antibodies induced by the vaccine could be found in their newborns’ cord blood. This suggested that the infants likely had some protection against COVID-19 when they were still too young to receive a vaccine.” Researchers leading that study still did not know how long the antibody levels would last.

For this new study, researchers followed 271 infants “whose mothers had received two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy” and 204 infants whose mothers “had received both doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine as well as a COVID-19 booster.” In analyzing this data, they determined that “newborns with high antibody levels at birth also had greater protection from COVID-19 infection during their first six months,” and those infants whose mothers “had received an additional booster dose during pregnancy had both higher levels of antibodies at birth and greater protection from COVID-19 infection at their follow-up visits.”

According to the NIH, this study “highlights how much maternal vaccination can benefit newborns too young to take advantage of the vaccine.” None of the infants examined, regardless of if the mothers received a booster or not, were hospitalized over the course of the study.

NIH’s website has the release.