Atlanta (CNN) – The Pfizer / Bionettech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are effective in pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to research published Thursday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MGH, MIT and Harvard’s Reagan Institute looked at 131 women who received the Pfizer / Bioentech or Modern’s COV Weed-19 vaccine. Among the participants, 84 were pregnant, 311 were breastfeeding and 116 were not pregnant. Samples were collected between December 17, 2020 and March 2, 2021.
Vaccine-induced antibody levels are not the same in pregnant and lactating women, compared to non-pregnant women. The team noted that antibody levels were “surprisingly high” as a result of coronavirus infection during pregnancy.
“These vaccines seem to be incredibly effective in these women,” said Galit Terlter, a professor of medicine at the Reagan Institute.
In addition, the team found that women pass on protective antibodies to their newborns, which are measured in breast milk and placenta.
“Almost all mothers were getting very good antibody levels for their babies,” Alter added, adding that additional research is needed to understand how long those protective antibodies last in newborns.
Participants traveled to the U.S. for a V-Safe tool for disease control and prevention. Used the centers, which allow people who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to track their reactions. Terter said they found no evidence of more side effects or more severe side effects in pregnant and breastfeeding women than in the general population.
While the team found similar antibody levels in women vaccinated with both vaccines, Terter said they found higher levels of IgA antibodies in pregnant women receiving the modern vaccine. She said that this type of special type of antibody can be transmitted to children more efficiently in the long run.
“There’s some reason to think that having a higher level of IgA immunity might be more protective,” Alter noted. He said the research would help inform policy decisions about which vaccine is used for the pregnant population.
Recent research has similarly found that the mRNA vaccine carries antibodies to pregnant women that can be transmitted to their children, although this is the largest study of the vaccine in pregnant women to date. Pregnant and lactating women were not included in the initial clinical trials of the vaccine.
This is an urgent need, because we cannot protect only one person in this vaccine effort, we are protecting two people at the same time.
Al Galit Alter, Professor of Medicine at the Reagan Institute
Although there were no data to inform pregnant women about their decisions to be vaccinated against COVD-19, Ter Litter said researchers and new and pregnant mothers – especially health care workers – went to fill the void.
“MGH and Brigham began talking to health care workers who are eligible for vaccinations, who are also pregnant, and they created a study to empower pregnant women with the ability to track their responses, but also to develop data that could essentially help this worldwide. Vaccination and pregnancy for the first time in this mass type.
“It was a force to be reckoned with not only from the OB-GYN / provider perspective, but also from the community,” Alter said. “It was inspiring.”
According to the CDC, pregnant women with COVID-19 have an increased risk of serious illness and an adverse outcome such as premature birth. The CDC says it expects to study vaccine safety in approximately 13,000 pregnant people for each of the three authorized coronavirus vaccines. The agency will use the specific V-Safe Pregnancy Registry, which registered about 3,612 pregnant women as of March 22nd.
“This is an urgent need, because we can’t protect just one person in this vaccine effort, we’re protecting two people at the same time.”
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