COVID Vaccine and Pregnancy

COVID-19 vaccines have been proven safe and effective for pregnant women. However, questions still remain regarding the best time during pregnancy to get vaccinated and the best vaccine to choose. Given that pregnant women and their unborn children alike are known to be especially susceptible to experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms, these are important questions for the medical community to answer.

Thankfully, a new study led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital is now providing some answers.

Which COVID Vaccine is Best for Pregnant Women?

The first question that researchers strived to answer was which of the available COVID-19 vaccines offered the most protection to pregnant women as well as which vaccines offered the most protection to fetuses. Today, there are three primary COVID-19 vaccines available for people to choose from: Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus-based vaccine, Moderna’s mRNA-based vaccine, or Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine.

To determine which of these vaccines offered the most protection to pregnant women, researchers examined 158 pregnant women who had received either the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. After testing all 158 participants, researchers found that women who received the mRNA-based vaccine from either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech produced more SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies than those who received Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus-based vaccine.

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech were also found to offer more protection to unborn fetuses as well when taken by the mother; both these mRNA vaccines were found to transfer more SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies to the fetus through the placenta than the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

When comparing both of the mRNA vaccines to one another, the study found that the Moderna vaccine was slightly more effective. However, this difference was much less significant than the difference when the two mRNA vaccines were compared to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

When is the Best Time During Pregnancy to Get Vaccinated for COVID?

Along with working to determine which vaccine offers the most protection to pregnant women, researchers also examined which stage of pregnancy marked the best time to get vaccinated. The study found that women who were vaccinated during either their first or third trimester of pregnancy exhibited an enhanced immune response compared to those who were vaccinated during their second trimester. However, more antibodies were passed through the placenta to the fetus in women who were vaccinated in either their first or second trimester.

Putting these two results together leaves the first trimester of pregnancy as the best time to get vaccinated if you are trying to maximize protection for the mother and fetus alike. While this is good information to know, you shouldn’t necessarily base your vaccine decisions on this data. Regardless of which stage of pregnancy you are in (or if you aren’t pregnant at all!), it’s recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as possible. Putting off getting vaccinated because you are waiting for the ideal stage of pregnancy only means that you are extending the period of time that you are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

Schedule an Appointment for COVID-19 Testing From St. Jude Labs

New research is continuing to shed light on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, with each new study underscoring the fact that these vaccines serve as our most important line of defense against severe COVID-19 infection.

Another vital line of defense is COVID-19 testing. With fast and reliable COVID-19 testing, you can confirm whether or not you are infected with the virus so that you take appropriate measures to safeguard your own health and the health of others. At St. Jude Labs, we offer both PCR COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 antibody testing with an industry-leading 24-36 hour turnaround time. If you would like to schedule an appointment for COVID-19 PCR or antibody testing at our Maryland facility, be sure to contact us today!

Contact us for a Free Quote