Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a slower response to vaccine, research shows

Pregnant and breastfeeding women respond to the first dose of coronavirus vaccines more slowly than other women and mount a weaker defen...


Pregnant and breastfeeding women respond to the first dose of coronavirus vaccines more slowly than other women and mount a weaker defense against the virus, according to a new study. After the second dose, however, their response seems almost normal.

The results, published this month in the journal Science Translational Medicine, suggest that pregnant and breastfeeding women remain susceptible to the virus longer after vaccination. The study emphasizes the importance of giving these women the second dose on time, and of monitoring them closely while waiting for signs of infection.

During pregnancy, the immune system is altered to tolerate the fetus – in fact a foreign entity – leaving pregnant women particularly susceptible to pathogens like the coronavirus. As a result, pregnant women are more likely to fall seriously ill and die from Covid than other women of the same age.

Previous research had suggested that pregnancy may also attenuate the response to vaccines. But initial Covid vaccine trials did not include pregnant and breastfeeding women due to safety concerns, so there has been little information on how they respond to inoculations.

The researchers analyzed the antibodies produced by 84 pregnant women, 31 lactating women and 16 non-pregnant women of the same age, immunized with the coronavirus vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

After the first dose, pregnant and breastfeeding women had fewer antibodies than other women of the same age. And the antibodies were less effective at recruiting other parts of the immune system to fight the virus.

Two to six weeks after the second dose, pregnant and breastfeeding women had about as many antibodies as other women their age, consistent with the results other studies, and the qualitative differences have also narrowed.

Breastfeeding women increased their response more effectively than pregnant women after the second dose, and the quality of their immune response was more similar to that of non-pregnant women.

The women in the study were immunized at different times during pregnancy. Future studies should analyze the optimal time during pregnancy to administer the vaccines, the researchers said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a slower response to vaccine, research shows
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have a slower response to vaccine, research shows
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