Boca Raton Pediatricians Say Vaccinated Woman Gave Birth To Baby With COVID-19 Antibodies
Two pediatricians in Boca Raton have published a study after a vaccinated woman, with no history of COVID-19, gave birth to a baby with COVID-19 antibodies.
Dr. Chad Rudnick is the Founder of Boca VIPediatrics. He says a healthcare worker was nine months pregnant when she took one Moderna vaccine shot. Three weeks later, she gave birth to a healthy girl with COVID-19 antibodies.
"Which was what we were expecting," said Rudnick, "because that's what we see with certain other vaccines that we give to mothers while they're pregnant, like the flu shot or the whooping cough vaccine."
WLRN is here for you, even when life is unpredictable. Local journalists are working hard to keep you informed on the latest developments across South Florida. Please support this vital work. Become a WLRN member today. Thank you.
Rudnick says they've never seen this before and the finding gives them more COVID-19 vaccine information to share with individual patients, the world's medical community, and to "make sure that our babies, who will be our patients once they are born, are protected even before they become our patients."
Dr. Paul Gilbert says this case highlights the importance of including newborns and pregnant mothers in the vaccine rollout discussion as they are "often excluded from trials and studies."
How long will the protections last? Gilbert says, so far, they "don't know the exact answer to that." And it's still not scientifically clear that having antibodies makes you immune from COVID-19.
"We do know some good science behind maternal antibodies passing to the baby and how long this usually lasts, which is why we do the whooping cough vaccine for pregnant mother. That passes antibody protection, usually for three to six months, to the babies upwards of nine months," Gilbert said. "Sometimes you can see if there's a good amount of antibodies, usually by one year, although all of mom's antibodies that pass to the baby are gone and the baby has to then make their own immune system."
He said "babies are most at risk during their first three months of life" and that's why the pediatricians expect antibodies continue proving protections.
Rudnick says this finding is perhaps a first.
"So at the time of our of our preprint, to our knowledge, it was the first case described in the world of a baby being born with COVID-19 antibodies following their mother getting vaccinated and not having covered previously," he said.
The pediatricians, who were both vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, expect the scientific community to study thousands of babies and maternal COVID-19 vaccinations to see how long the antibodies will last.
According to the CDC, despite limited data, "experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant."
There are huge ramifications, societally, but many pregnant women still have concerns about the vaccine.
Gilbert says women should decide for themselves.
"There are a number of concerns. The starting point is that pregnant women are often excluded from the initial studies for medications, vaccines, when those are new," he said. "And so safety efficacy studies haven't been done yet. They're ongoing. They're just getting started right now with the major pharmacy companies. And so there's a lot of 'what ifs' and questions."
He says, throughout history, "there are other vaccines and other medications that can be dangerous to pregnant women and potentially their fetus. And so we do have to be mindful of that."
"And that's where we stand on the science. And we look at the science behind how the vaccine works and what are the potential risks. And based on that, we can say, theoretically, we figured it was going to be safe," said Gilbert. "That's why, in America, the recommendation was that pregnant women should be offered it and have the option to get it if they want to."