The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are effective for pregnant and lactating women, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
In the study, researchers looked at 131 women of reproductive age (84 pregnant, 31 nursing, and 16 non-pregnant), who received the Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, and found that pregnant and lactating women exhibited a “robust “Immune response to vaccines. According to the study, immune responses from vaccines were “significantly greater” than responses to natural COVID-19 infections. Additionally, side effects after vaccination were “rare and comparable among study participants,” according to EurekaAlert.
“These vaccines appear to work incredibly effectively in these women,” said one of the study’s authors, Galit Alter, Ph.D., professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and group leader at the Ragon Institute at Hospital. Massachusetts General, MIT and Harvard, he told CNN. (Yahoo Life reached out to the study authors but did not receive a timely response.)
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Pregnant and breastfeeding people who are vaccinated can also help protect their babies. Antibodies generated by the vaccine were found in all samples of umbilical cord blood and breast milk. “The recent study published by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology demonstrated that when a pregnant or breastfeeding person is vaccinated, the immune response that it produces and the antibodies that develop are transferred to the newborn and, with this, the newborn’s immune protection is likely to be supported ”, said Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (who was not involved in the study), tells Yahoo Life.
Given that “there is no approved vaccine for newborns and young children and the fact that the vaccine supply is still shorter than necessary to meet current demand, this study provides the opportunity to inoculate newborns without depleting even more vaccine supplies, “says Gonsenhauser.
Pregnant people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to those who are not pregnant. They are also at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm labor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The impact of COVID19 cannot be underestimated,” says Gonsenhauser. “From the loss of life, the disruption of the economy and dangerously stretched healthcare capacity, the impact has been staggering. While adults have been primarily affected by COVID-19, we know that people of all ages are at risk. While we have seen young children affected, we have yet to fully understand the potential impact on newborns. Given the increasingly clear safety profile of available vaccines, the benefit of the protection provided by the vaccine far outweighs the risk of complications or side effects of vaccination. “
For people who are pregnant or breastfeeding and may be hesitant to receive the vaccine, the CDC notes that both Moderna and Pfizer are mRNA vaccines that “do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore they cannot transmit COVID-19 to someone. Furthermore, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA or cause genetic changes because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is stored. ” (You can learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work here.)
When it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, Gonsenhauser suggests considering “where your information comes from and making sure it comes from a reputable and appropriately competent source.” She adds: “There is a lot of misinformation, but at this point there is overwhelming evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for pregnant and lactating women. If you still have questions, talk to a healthcare provider you trust. The science and the data are clear. “
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