COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective throughout pregnancy

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COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective throughout pregnancy

A study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology shows there is little variance in the presence of antibodies in women who received a COVID-19 vaccine at any time during pregnancy, or in their babies at birth.

Researchers advise against waiting to start the series of vaccinations until late in a pregnancy, but they say booster shots in late pregnancy can raise antibody levels.

HealthDay News reports the study “found that antibodies to the [COVID] virus in nearly 1,400 women and their babies at the time of delivery didn’t vary dramatically based on when a woman got her vaccine during pregnancy.”

“Women often ask what is the best vaccination timing for the baby — our data suggest that it’s now,” study co-author Dr. Malavika Prabhu said in a news release from Weill Cornell Medicine. She is an assistant professor and ob-gyn at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.

For the study, researchers at the two institutions measured antibody levels in the mothers’ blood and the babies’ umbilical cord blood. While levels were higher when vaccination occurred in a woman’s third trimester, they were comparably high and likely protective when vaccination happened early in pregnancy or even a few weeks before, the study found. Furthermore, a booster shot late in pregnancy can also make those antibody levels much higher, researchers said.

The researchers concluded that “expectant mothers should not delay COVID-19 vaccination until late pregnancy.”

“The message here is that you can get vaccinated at any point during pregnancy and it is likely going to be beneficial to you and your baby at the time of birth — and of course, by getting vaccinated early you will be protecting yourself and your baby throughout the pregnancy,” said first author Dr. Yawei Jenny Yang, an assistant professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell.

“These study results are consistent with what we see with other maternal vaccines such as flu and Tdap, which, when given during pregnancy, protect the mother and baby,” said senior author Dr. Laura Riley, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine and obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

In a related story, the New York Times reports “women who received COVID vaccinations while pregnant were at no greater risk of” preterm births or small-for-gestational-age births, according to a CDC study that looked at over 46,000 pregnancies that resulted in a live birth and included over 10,000 women who received one or more doses of COVID vaccine during their pregnancies between Dec. 15, 2020, and July 22, 2021.

This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.



  1. Cathy Stroud says:

    I totally disagree with your opinions on the vaccines. Why would a perfectly healthy young woman who is not at risk for serious illness from the virus even think about getting a vaccine that we don’t know the long term effects? I am disappointed with many medical professionals in taking such a risk with young people and children and even babies in the womb.

    • Cathy,

      This is NOT just my opinion. You ask, “Why would a perfectly healthy young woman … even think about getting a {COVID] vaccine …?” The answer is simple. If she has half a brain, she wouldn’t consider NOT taking the vaccine.

      I’m not being flippant when I say this. The scientific data are very clear and have been since last summer when the American Academy of Family Physicians joined with a number of other science- and evidence-based healthcare organizations and advised:

      “As the leading organizations representing experts in maternal care and public health professionals that advocate and educate about vaccination, we strongly urge all pregnant individuals – along with recently pregnant, planning to become pregnant, lactating, and other eligible individuals — to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

      “Pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection, including death. With cases rising as a result of the [variants], the best way for pregnant individuals to protect themselves against the potential harm from COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated.

      “Maternal care experts want the best outcomes for their patients, and that means both a healthy parent and a healthy baby. Data from tens of thousands of reporting individuals have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective when administered during pregnancy. The same data have been equally reassuring when it comes to infants born to vaccinated individuals. Moreover, COVID-19 vaccines have no impact on fertility.

      “Pregnant individuals and those planning to become pregnant should feel confident in choosing vaccination to protect themselves, their infants, their families, and their communities.” (See

      Of course, we also recommend other vaccines for pregnant women, including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and influenza vaccines for the same reasons — they are safe and effective ways to prevent unwanted harmful diseases and at times premature death for the mother and the baby.

      We’re NOT “taking such a risk with young people and children and even babies in the womb,” rather, we’re helping women significantly reduce the risk for themselves, their unborn children, any other children in their family, and their friends and loved ones.

      I hope this helps!

      Dr. Walt

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