CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Guidance for pregnant people getting the COVID-19 vaccine has evolved over the pandemic, and so has scientists' understanding of how that vaccination could impact the baby.
Right now, the CDC is recommending COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or who might become pregnant in the future.
The agency states that vaccination during pregnancy is safe and encouraged, since COVID-19 can hurt pregnant people more than others and also cause preterm birth, stillbirth, and other pregnancy complications.
But can vaccination of the mother also passively help the child?
Can protection against COVID-19 from a vaccinated mother pass to her baby?
Yes, research shows it is possible for a vaccinated mother to pass COVID-19 protections to her child.
According to a new CDC study, there had previously been a belief that it was possible with the coronavirus since the process of "passive transplacental antibody transfer" has been observed in other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The study found mothers fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna had 61% effectiveness in keeping their babies younger than six-months-old out of the hospital from COVID-19.
According to the report, those vaccinated while pregnant had detectable coronavirus antibodies in their breast milk and their infant also showed antibodies.
Traxler thinks this is an important finding, since the COVID-19 vaccines are only being developed for those as young as six months.
"By getting these people vaccinated while they're pregnant and then passing their antibodies onto their baby, it bridges that gap in those babies that are protected until they are eligible for vaccination," Traxler said.
The study also found a possible benefit to vaccination later in pregnancy, with later completion of the series showing 80% effectiveness in preventing an infant's hospitalization from COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Pfizer announced it would postpone the FDA application for its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for kids 6 months to 4 years. The company said it wanted to wait for data to come in on its three-dose series for this group.
VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.