February 21, 2024

In The News: More Evidence Maternal COVID Vaccination Safe for Newborns

Medpage Today reports on a study from that found newborns of mothers who had received at least one mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose during pregnancy did not have worse outcomes than those born to mothers who had not received a vaccination. The large cohort study from Norway and Sweden findings went on to show vaccine-exposed neonates had about half the unadjusted mortality rate of the unexposed group. The study data reflects all live births at 22 weeks or more of gestational age in the two countries between June 2021 and January 2023, for a total of 196,470 newborn infants.

Those findings were maintained after researchers adjusted the rates for selected factors, including maternal age, smoking status, country of origin, gestational age, BMI. When analyzed factors were restricted to only COVID-19 during pregnancy, infants born at term, infants born without birth defects, and singleton births, the findings remained unaltered. Researchers also pointed out to no cases of neonatal pericarditis, myocarditis, or other inflammatory neonatal diseases were seen in the infants after maternal vaccination during pregnancy.

Possible negative outcomes among newborns researchers reviewed included thrombosis, inflammation, infection, central nervous system disorders, circulatory problems, problems with respiration, gastrointestinal problems, and neonatal mortality.

The robust lower risk of death was described by researchers as unexpected. They also stated the results were important to use in counseling those who are pregnant and in making recommendations in public health. Vaccine-exposed infants were less likely to be pre-term, small for gestational age, or have decreased Apgar scores compared to infants with no exposure.

PIDS member Liz Schlaudecker commented on the study for the story. “There was a period when we didn’t really know 100% how [mRNA vaccines] would affect pregnant women. We were recommending it [to pregnant people] but still gathering data at the time, which is not our favorite situation to be in. We know, for example, that if a mom has influenza while she’s pregnant, it leads to prematurity, low birth weight, and several other negative outcomes.”

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