An Infant Was Born With COVID-19 Antibodies From Half-Vaccinated Mom

Doctors believe this may protect the newborn right from birth.

Originally Published: 
An infant cries on mom's chest

A health care worker in Florida, who had been given one jab of the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, gave birth to a newborn who had COVID-19 antibodies. Here’s what to know about the game-changing news.

According to the study and reporting, a pregnant healthcare worker in Florida developed COVID-19 antibodies receiving the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Three weeks later, when her baby was born, testing done revealed the same antibodies passed through the placenta to her baby. The study authors say this might point to some potential protection to the newborn girl.

“Coming into January, we had the opportunity with a healthcare worker for her to get her vaccine at the end of her pregnancy, and then when the baby was born, we were able to test that baby’s cord blood to look for antibodies that were made from the vaccine to see if those antibodies passed from the mom to the baby and potentially give the baby protection,” said Dr. Paul Gilbert, a pediatrician in Florida.

“We were very excited to see once the test result came back, that the antibodies from the mom’s vaccine did, in fact, pass through the placenta to the newborn,” Dr. Chad Rudnick, the co-author of the story who is also a pediatrician, said.

Previous studies found that pregnant women who had positive tests for COVID-19 can pass the antibodies their body develops to their babies while in utero. While it’s not known, exactly, how long antibodies gainst COVID-19 do last, this study is the first to show that newborns may develop antibodies after maternal vaccination.

Pregnant people were excluded from the first clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccinations. However, according to the CDC, the vaccination is expected to be safe in pregnancy, and vaccine makers from Pfizer to Moderna have begun to trial the vaccine on pregnant people. The organization notes that all the authorized vaccines for the coronavirus can be provided to pregnant people.

“It really starts aligning the COVID vaccine with those vaccines that we already use in pregnant women like the flu vaccine,” said Dr. Neeta Ogden, an internal medicine specialist and immunologist, in an interview with CBSN. “We really need, and it is clear that we need, significant data on how safe it is in pregnant women.”

“This also is hopeful because it offers a level of protection to one of the most vulnerable populations, the newborn,” Dr. Ogden said.

As of right now, there isn’t a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe for children under 16 to take, but COVID-19 vaccine trials from Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer could get tweens vaccinated by the time they head back to school.

Dr. Ogden added, “If we can see this kind of safe maternal transmission of antibodies from the vaccine to newborns, I think that’s really a great step in the right direction.”

Another great step towards normalcy!

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