According to new data published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the mRNA Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna do not appear to pose any significant risk during pregnancy.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women with Covid-19 are at an elevated risk for serious illness and may be at an increased risk for adverse effects such as preterm birth. The findings, along with previous studies indicating that mRNA vaccines are safe in pregnant and lactating mothers, indicate that the vaccines’ benefits outweigh the risks.
The new research looked at data from the CDC’s V-safe smartphone-based monitoring system and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System for 35,691 pregnant women who were born between December 14, 2020, and February 28, 2021. (VAERS). Participants ranged in age from 16 to 54 years old and were all pregnant.
To collect more data on pregnancy outcomes and complications, the researchers followed a community inside the V-safe scheme. There were 3,958 pregnant participants in this registry (out of 35,691) who had received an mRNA vaccine. They discovered 827 completed pregnancies, of which 115 (13.9%) resulted in a pregnancy loss and 712 (86.1%) resulted in a live birth. Preterm births were recorded by 9.4% of participants, with just 3.2 per cent of these births being of small gestational age. There were no reports of neonatal deaths.
The CDC’s VAERS list received 221 reports of pregnancy-related adverse events, 46 of which were miscarriages.
“Although not directly comparable, calculated proportions of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in persons vaccinated against Covid-19 who had a completed pregnancy were similar to incidences reported in studies involving pregnant women that were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The research also looked at the impact of vaccines on pregnant women. The most common side effect of the vaccine, according to researchers, was discomfort at the injection site, which tended to occur more often in pregnant vaccine recipients. Headaches, muscle aches, chills, and fever, on the other hand, were registered less frequently by pregnant women.
More long-term studies are required, according to the researchers, to determine the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy, and this study should include follow-up with a large group of pregnant women who were vaccinated early.
“Continued monitoring is needed to further assess maternally, pregnancy, neonatal, and childhood outcomes associated with maternal Covid-19 vaccination, including in earlier stages of pregnancy and during the preconception period,” the researchers wrote. “Meanwhile, the present data can help inform decision making about vaccination by pregnant persons and their health care providers.”
In addition to being protected, research published last month found that Moderna and Pfizer’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are successful in protecting pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as their newborns. Mothers may transfer protective antibodies to their newborns, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that also used V-safe data.
131 women who received either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine were studied by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard.
There were 84 pregnant women, 31 lactating women, and 16 non-pregnant or lactating women among the participants. Between December 17, 2020, and March 2, 2021, samples were collected.
In comparison to non-pregnant women, vaccine-induced antibody levels were similar in pregnant and lactating women. According to the researchers, the antibody levels were “strikingly higher” than those caused by coronavirus infection during pregnancy.
“These vaccines seem to work incredibly effectively in these women,” said one of the researchers, Galit Alter, a professor of medicine at the Ragon Institute.
Besides, the researchers discovered that protective antibodies were passed on to newborns via breast milk and the placenta. Additional research is required, according to Alter, to determine how long those protective antibodies last in newborns.
While the team found similar antibody levels in women who received each vaccine, Alter said that pregnant women who received the Moderna vaccine had higher levels of IgA antibodies. She believes that this form of antibody can be transmitted to babies more effectively and for a longer period.
“There is some reason to think that having higher levels of IgA immunity might be more protective,” Alter noted.