World Health Organization, WHO, vaccines, birth defects, outcomes, pregnant, pregnancy, women

No, COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Affect Birth Outcomes For Pregnant Women

A new study comparing pregnant women who received a COVID-19 vaccine and those who did not, reveals no difference in health of their babies.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic a great concern was the health outcomes for babies of pregnant women. When the COVID-19 vaccine was announced, there were more questions being raised about the effects on neonates.

A new study published on Nov. 24 has determined there is no difference in neonatal outcomes for women who received the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine as compared to expecting mothers who did not receive the vaccine. Health concerns heightened for pregnant women as the virus was found to potentially result in illness and death for pregnant women and infants. Statistics from the World Health Organization revealed greater than half a million new COVID-19 cases and over 2,400 new deaths occurred from Oct. 23 to Nov. 19. However, availability of the COVID-19 vaccine offers increased protection for pregnant women as well as other populations.

Concern arose regarding the health and safety of pregnant women and their babies when the vaccine was developed. The WHO recommends the vaccine for pregnant women as research has shown there is no association with an increase in morbidity risk. However, most of the research conducted on vaccines is focused on mRNA vaccines and there is less available information regarding inactivated COVID-19 vaccines. The study was conducted analyzing the outcomes from births resulting in one child using patients from Tianjin Central Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology between the dates of March 1 to June 30th, 2022.  The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, assessed the effects of the inactivated vaccine on neonates who were divided into two groups: vaccinated and unvaccinated. The vaccinated group included neonates whose mothers received the COVID-19 vaccination before pregnancy. The unvaccinated group included mothers who did not review the vaccine before or during their pregnancy, according to the outlet.

To determine the effects of the vaccine on neonates, preterm birth, small for gestational age (SGA), and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission were evaluated. Additional outcomes such as very preterm birth, late preterm birth, low birth weight, very low birth weight, neonatal bacterial infection, and mortality were also assessed, according to Contemporary OB/GYN.

According to the study, there were no differences in the aforementioned outcomes when comparing neonates in the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. Analysis also revealed there were no records of infant deaths.

The results from the research provide an understanding that the COVID-19 vaccine does not impact the health outcomes for newborn babies, leading the researchers to maintain recommendations that women who are expecting to become pregnant receive the vaccine.  

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