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Babies born to COVID-19 vaccinated moms could have antibodies, study suggests

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

The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, evaluated the levels of antibodies of 20 pregnant women who had received two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during their third trimester of pregnancy and in their newborns. In all cases, antibodies were detected at adequate levels.

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

Read more: Ontario becomes 1st province to prioritize pregnancy in COVID-19 vaccination rollout

The findings, conducted in February by researchers from Jerusalem’s Hadassah-University Medical Center, were posted this month on medRxiv — an online distribution service for unpublished research manuscripts — and reported by Israeli media on Tuesday.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.

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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.

Read more: Doctors urge high-risk pregnant, breastfeeding women to get access to COVID-19 vaccines

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

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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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