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March 17, 2021 9:45 am

COVID-19 Vaccination of Pregnant Women Could Protect Babies, Israeli Researchers Say

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

A medical worker gets her second vaccination injection against the coronavirus disease as Israel continues its national vaccination drive during a third national COVID-19 lockdown, at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 10, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/ Ronen Zvulun.

Pregnant women vaccinated against COVID-19 could pass along protection to their babies, according to a new study in Israel.

According to the research conducted in February, antibodies were detected in all 20 women administered both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during their third trimester of pregnancy and in their newborns, through placental transfer.

“Our findings highlight that vaccination of pregnant women may provide maternal and neonatal protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the study said.

The findings by researchers from Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center were posted this month on medRxiv — an online distribution service for unpublished research manuscripts that have not been peer-reviewed — and reported by Israeli media on Tuesday.

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The authors noted the small size of the study and said further research was necessary to gauge the effect of vaccination at different stages of pregnancy, and the safety and efficacy of the different vaccines now available.

One of the researchers, Dana Wolf, was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying the group will now start looking at how long the antibodies triggered by the vaccinations will last in the babies.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE said last month they had started a 4,000-volunteer international study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine in healthy pregnant women.

The trial will also assess whether vaccinated pregnant women transfer protective antibodies to their babies.

A separate U.S. study posted last week and also awaiting peer review, found that the antibodies induced in pregnant women from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc shots, were transferred to the babies via the placenta or breast milk.

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