UMass Breastmilk Lab

Comments on COVID Vaccine in pregnancy (late March 2021)

COVID Vaccine in pregnancy (late March 2021)Pregnant women silhouette

We are a research lab not MDs and can’t offer medical advice though we have done studies on immune responses in nursing Moms after COVID vaccination and following infection.

We do share information on what we know about COVID, this is written in late March 2021 (knowledge is developing).

** We have completed recruitment for all our COVID and SARS-CoV-2 studies. **

** Our thanks to all who participated or expressed interest. **

Is it safe to get the COIVD vaccines during pregnancy?

That question exists because the vaccine certification studies did NOT include pregnant women.  The CDC has a page on vaccination and pregnancy. Women are getting the vaccine during pregnancy and it turns out that some women included in COVID vaccine studies were pregnant.

A good question to be asking your physicians is ‘what are the risks from the vaccine vs the risk to baby and you from getting COVID 19’.  The answer may vary for each woman and also its going to evolve in the next few months, medical advisory groups are continuously updating their recommendations to physicians for the topic


Will my baby get antibodies from me before birth?

There are studies coming out that say there is transplacental transfer of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2  to baby in-utero that can be measured after delivery. The fully reviewed studies tend to be for Moms who had COVID infections (we assume studies in vaccinated women will be published soon). This is a version of ‘passive immunity’ and the protection is likely lost over time (its one reason why vaccination for childhood diseases starts around 6 months).  There isn’t any information on how long transplacental antibodies against COVID last in babies, nobody pregnant or otherwise has been immunized for more than a couple of months, March 2021.


Will my baby get antibodies in breast milk?

We are working on that.  The instant answer is YES-BUT …….YES, There are antibodies in breastmilk and we see anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the milk ….. BUT transfer of antibodies to the baby’s body out of the GI tract generally doesn’t happen or is limited for humans.    We do know that breastfeeding reduces respiratory diseases in infantsGI involvement in severe pediatric COVID-2 is a worry and antibodies in milk might limit some GI effects of COVID in the breastfed baby but there are no real objective data.

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