Babies Receive COVID Antibodies From Vaccination in Utero, Study Shows

A new study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine revealed that people who receive a mRNA COVID vaccine while pregnant will pass on COVID protectant antibodies to their child.

The study, which was published online on September 22 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology—Maternal Fetal Medicine, found that all of the 36 newborns tested at the time of birth had antibodies against the virus, according to a press release from NYU Langone Health.

All of the pregnant participants had been vaccinated with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna jab.

The research team was also able to tell the difference between antibodies that had been produced in response to natural infection from those made in response to the vaccines, the release said.

This is an important factor because it has been shown, the release explained, that natural antibody responses against COVID are not sufficiently protective for many people.

To retrieve these findings, researchers tested blood from the umbilical cord—with the highest levels of antibodies found in babies whose parent was fully vaccinated during the second half of the pregnancy.

Though it is a small sample size, the study's senior author Jennifer L. Lighter, said the study is encouraging.

Pregnancy Vaccine
A new study from NYU shows that those who receive a mRNA COVID vaccine while pregnant will pass on antibodies to their child. Recent data shows that 23 percent of pregnant people in the Untied States are vaccinated against COVID-19. Lifestyle/Getty Images

Earlier this month, Mississippi health authorities reported that at least eight pregnant women had died from COVID-19 since late July—all of whom were not fully vaccinated, as previously reported by Newsweek.

In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement reassuring the safety of the COVID vaccine for pregnant people.

CNBC reported that at a meeting on September 22, the CDC said that the vaccine does not increase the risk of miscarriage either.

After tracking 1,613 pregnant people, participants gave birth to 1,634 live-born infants, including 42 twins.

The CDC established the "v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry" to help better track how vaccines were impacting pregnant people. It is open to those who received the COVID vaccine within 30 days before the last menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Those enrolled with be contacted several times throughout their pregnancy for health check-ins, the CDC said.

Around 23 percent of pregnant people have been vaccinated according to recent data from the CDC, the release from NYU said.

"If babies could be born with antibodies, it could protect them in the first several months of their lives, when they are most vulnerable," one of the study's principal investigators Ashley S. Roman said in the release.

According to the CDC, as of September 22, over 182 million people in the United States were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.