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Home » Maternal COVID vaccinations are safe for newborns — new study

Maternal COVID vaccinations are safe for newborns — new study


I have written extensively that maternal COVID-19 vaccinations are safe for the mother and the developing fetus. And those vaccines, by protecting the mother, provide better birth and newborn outcomes.

Of course, this does not stop researchers from testing the hypothesis that maternal COVID-19 vaccinations are safe for newborns, and I am going to review a new paper that confirms this safety aspect of the vaccines.

woman wearing white collared blouse maternal COVID-19 vaccinations
Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Maternal COVID-19 vaccinations

In a paper published on 6 February 2024 in JAMA, Mikael Norman, MD, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues developed a population-based cohort study that looked at data from all live births at 22 weeks or more of gestational age in Sweden and Norway between June 2021 and January 2023.

Of the 196,470 newborn infants, 48% were exposed to at least one maternal COVID-19 vaccination with an mRNA vaccine during pregnancy, with most being exposed to one or two vaccinations. The researchers adjusted for factors that included maternal age, BMI, education, country of birth, smoking status, season of conception, parity, multiple births, and gestational age.

Here are the key results:

  • The unadjusted mortality rates for vaccine-exposed babies in the two nations were about 50% compared to babies of mothers who were not vaccinated.
  • The adjusted mortality rates comparing both groups were 32% lower in the vaccinated group.
  • The researchers found that babies exposed to maternal COVID-19 vaccines had 22% lower odds for nontraumatic intracranial hemorrhage.
  • There was a 27% lower odds of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in the vaccinated group.
  • Vaccine-exposed infants were less likely than infants with no exposure to the COVID-19 vaccine to be preterm, small for gestational age, or have decreased Apgar scores.

The authors concluded:

In this large population-based study, vaccination of pregnant individuals with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines was not associated with increased risks of neonatal adverse events in their infants.

Summary

This huge study clearly showed that maternal COVID-19 vaccinations provide better outcomes for newborns compared to mothers who did not receive the COVID-19 vaccines. The reasons for this are numerous.

First, although the study did not determine the incidence of COVID-19 infection in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, we know that mothers who contract COVID-19 had worse newborn outcomes.

Second, mothers who vaccinate during pregnancy protect the newborn against COVID-19.

Overall, this large study provides more evidence of the safety of the vaccine for mothers and their newborn babies.

Citations

Michael Simpson

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