Antibodies generated by vaccination are able to cross the placenta and help shield newborns in the vulnerable first months of their lives.
Both mother and child benefit when pregnant women are given a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine or booster jab.
This is the conclusion of experts from the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium, who studied 240 pregnant volunteers jabbed between July 2021 and January 2022.
Of the subjects, 167 received the two-dose primary series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, while the remaining 73 had been given a single boosters dose, as was recommended at the time.
The researchers analyzed samples of each participant’s blood both before and after the jab, as well as at the time of birth.
After delivery, the team also analyzed their “cord blood” — the blood that remains in both the placenta and the umbilical cord following birth.
The researchers found that vaccination during pregnancy resulted in antibodies in the recipient against both the D614G variant — which both vaccines were specifically designed to protect against — as well as the Delta and Omicron subvariants.
These antibodies, the team said, were also found to have effectively processed the placenta into each patient’s cord blood.
This means that the newborns likely had a degree of protection from the COVID-19 variants in question immediately afterbirth.
This, the team said, is a “critical time” in which babies are vulnerable to severe infection with coronavirus but are too young to be vaccinated.