Newborn baby boy at hospital with identity tag on feet, close up
Isabel Pavia/Moment/Getty Images

Mom Gives Birth To Baby With COVID-19 Antibodies After Getting Vaccinated While Pregnant

The Florida baby is believed to be the first in the world to be born with COVID antibodies following their birthing parent’s vaccination.

by Morgan Brinlee

Two pediatricians in Boca Raton, Florida, have reported what is largely believed to be the first known case of a baby being born with COVID-19 antibodies following maternal vaccination. According to doctors, a Florida woman received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine three weeks before giving birth to a healthy baby girl. COVID-19 antibodies were detected in cord blood samples taken at the time of delivery.

“We have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies are detectable in a newborn’s cord blood sample after only a single dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine,” pediatricians Paul Gilbert and Chad Rudnick said in a pre-print case study that has yet to undergo peer review. “Thus, there is potential for protection and infection risk reduction from SARS-CoV-2 with maternal vaccination.”

According to the case study, the newborn’s mother is a front-line healthcare worker who received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at roughly 36 weeks pregnant. Three weeks later, she delivered a healthy and full-term baby girl in “a normal, spontaneous vaginal birth.” A cord blood sample similar to those taken for newborn blood type and direct antiglobulin tests (DAT) was taken immediately after birth to enable researchers to determine if antibodies produced by COVID vaccines had passed from the mother to the child as they do with other vaccines given during pregnancy, including those for influenza and diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (TDaP).

Testing of the cord blood sample showed the newborn did in fact have COVID antibodies.

“To our knowledge, this was the first in the world that was reported of a baby being born with antibodies after a vaccination,” Gilbert told local broadcaster WPBF.

But both Gilbert and Rudnick have cautioned that more research is needed to confirm that maternal vaccination for COVID-19 can offer newborns protection against the virus and to determine how strong and lasting that protection might be. “This is one small case in what will be thousands and thousands of babies born to mothers who have been vaccinated of the next several months,” Rudnick told WPBF. “Further studies have to determine how long will this protection last. They have to determine at what level of protection or how many antibodies does a baby need to have circulating in order to give them protection.”

The mother has since received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine, which is required to be administered 28 days after the first, researchers noted.

Gilbert and Rudnick have urged the creation of pregnancy and breastfeeding registries alongside studies into the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in both pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children.

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.