Vaccinations in pregnancy have always been a key topic in the medical sector. A research team composed of National Mie Hospital in Japan discovered recently that after a pregnant woman is COVID-19 vaccinated, antibodies from the mother can be transferred to the fetus, which helps to protect the mother and newborn at the same time.
According to the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), the team is composed of Suga Shigeru, vice president of National Mie Hospital, and other experts.
They collected and analyzed the blood after the mothers gave birth and umbilical cord blood, and tested the level of the neutralizing antibodies which can inhibit viral activities.
The blood was from 146 pregnant women who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
It was found that the level of neutralizing antibodies in the umbilical cord blood was 1.68 times higher than that in the mother’s blood.
Therefore it was confirmed that after the pregnant woman was vaccinated, the antibody could be transferred to the fetus through the placenta.
The team also found out in the research that pregnant women who received the second dose of the vaccine between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy had higher levels of antibodies transferred to the fetus.
In February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the result of a study showing that for mothers who completed two doses of either the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 was reduced by about 60 percent in the first six months of their life.
However, pregnant women should also evaluate their health when deciding to get vaccinated, and pay attention to possible side effects of the vaccine.
Taiwan Centers of Disease Control reminded that pregnant women should go to the hospital for examination as soon as possible if they experience vaginal bleeding, suspected waters breaking, regular uterine contractions, persistent lower abdominal pain, or feelings of decreased fetal movement after vaccination.
Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Taiwan also reminded that pregnant women should not get vaccinated if they have a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines, suffer from rheumatic immune diseases and must be hospitalized, have a fever, are undergoing treatment for acute and severe illness, or have obvious cold symptoms.
It is recommended to control the health condition first, in order to avoid confusion with the response to vaccination.
Dana Meaney-Delman, Chief of Infant Outcomes Monitoring Research and Prevention Branch of CDC, said that when pregnant women receive the mRNA vaccine, the body produces antibodies to fight off the virus, and these antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood. This suggested that antibodies have been transferred from pregnant women to their growing babies.