a South Florida frontline health care worker received her first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She gave birth three weeks later to a healthy baby girl — with COVID-19 antibodies.
Doctors believe the newborn marks the first known case of a baby born with coronavirus antibodies in the U.S., which may offer her some protection against the virus.
Dr. Paul Giblert and Dr. Chad Rudnick presented their findings in a preprint study, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed. They found that the antibodies were detected at the time of delivery, after analyzing blood from the baby’s umbilical cord taken immediately after birth and before placenta delivery.
“We have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies are detectable in a newborn’s cord blood sample after only a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine,” they concluded. “Thus, there is potential for protection and infection risk reduction from Sars-CoV-2 with maternal vaccination.”
The doctors emphasize, however, that more research is needed to verify the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines during pregnancy.
It was already known that mothers previously infected with COVID-19 can pass antibodies on to their newborns. Additionally, the passage of antibodies from mother to baby through the placenta is well documented in other vaccines, including that for influenza, so doctors were hopeful the same newborn protection would be possible after maternal vaccination against COVID-19.