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Cleveland doctors researching women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy

Pregnant women at antenatal class
Posted at 9:40 AM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 09:40:19-04

CLEVELAND — Happening right now in Cleveland is research to confirm early findings that women who are vaccinated against the coronavirus during pregnancy pass along protection to their babies.

A study is underway here at home that takes it a step further.

“If this is as good as we can get for these very new and vulnerable babies being born, that if there's some protection from their moms getting vaccinated, then that would be incredible,” said Dr. Rachel Pope, OBGYN and researcher at University Hospitals.

Pope is part of the team that is studying COVID-19 in pregnancy.

The study underway right now, specifically looking into antibodies in babies, is a collaboration with University Hospitals, MetroHealth, Case Western Reserve University, and Emory University in Atlanta.

They are looking to go even deeper than a study recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Boston researchers found moms vaccinated against the coronavirus pass along antibodies to their babies in utero and through breastfeeding.

They also found the immune response was stronger from the vaccine than from a natural infection during pregnancy.

The study here at home is looking into how robust that potential protection is and how long it may last for a baby.

“The study that came out of Boston, already had about 83 women who were vaccinated during pregnancy deliver, and probably those women were vaccinated in the last trimester of their pregnancy because the vaccine just came out and they just delivered quickly,” said Pope. “So, what we really want to find out is if you're vaccinated even early on in your pregnancy will that immunity still linger, and will you still pass that on to the baby?”

There have been several deliveries in this study so far, and early results should be ready in the next couple of months.

If you were vaccinated during pregnancy and would like to enroll in the study, Pope says you should talk with your OBGYN to be connected to the research.

Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.

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