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Israeli study: COVID vaccination protects fetuses

A new Israeli study shows that pregnant women vaccinated against the coronavirus may pass along protection to their unborn babies through placental transfer.

Following birth, researchers at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Medical Center in February detected antibodies in the newborns and mothers, who had been administered both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during their third trimester of pregnancy.

The report, published by the online medRxiv distribution service, read: “Our findings highlight that vaccination of pregnant women may provide maternal and neonatal protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Researcher Dana Wolf also told local media that the study will continue to track how long the antibodies remain active among the offspring. Noting the relatively small size of the study included just 20 mothers, the Israeli team said further research was necessary to fully determine the effect of inoculation at different stages of pregnancy of the various vaccines now available to the public.

Israel has become a world leader in the rapid pace of its “Back to Life” vaccination campaign, serving as a model for  other world nations. At least 47% of  Israel’s 9 million citizens have been fully inoculated and 55% administered at least one dose, and vaccination is also being administered to tens of thousands of Palestinians who enter the country each day for employment.

A different study completed by the United States found that expectant mothers injected with mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Inc. vaccines were successfully transferred to their babies through the placenta, as well as breast milk.

Both the Israeli and US studies are still awaiting peer review.

4,000 healthy pregnant women also volunteered last month to participate in an international Pfizer/BioNTech trial on vaccine safety and whether the protective antibodies will be passed to their babies.