Baby Born to Partially Vaccinated Mother Found to Have COVID Antibodies in First-Known Case

A baby born to a partially vaccinated mother was found to have COVID-19 antibodies, doctors in Florida said.

The mother is a frontline health care worker who received one dose of the Moderna vaccine three weeks before giving birth at the end of January, her pediatricians, Dr. Paul Giblert and Dr. Chad Rudnick of Boca Raton, said Wednesday. A blood sample taken after the baby was born showed that they had COVID-19 antibodies.

Mothers typically pass down antibodies to their newborns through the placenta during the last three months of pregnancy, which provides the baby with passive immunity. The protection is only temporary, and the immunity decreases after the first few weeks or months, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This is the first-known case of a mother passing down COVID-19 antibodies after receiving a vaccine dose.

"It was an idea that we've had that we've seen with other vaccines we've given women who are pregnant," Giblert told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "Things like the flu vaccine and the whooping cough vaccine which are standard, we know that those can pass protection in antibodies to babies. So the hypothesis was that the same thing would happen with the COVID vaccine."

Gilbert said that the mother never contracted COVID-19, meaning the antibodies could only have come from the vaccine.

"She had no exposures or symptoms," he said.

The doctors, who have submitted this case for publication in a medical journal, do not know how long the antibodies will last in the baby.

"Further studies have to determine how long this protection will last," Rudnick told WPBF. "They have to determine at what level of protection or how many antibodies does a baby need to have circulating in order to give them protection."

With more and more pregnant women getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as experts affirm that it is safe, the doctors expect cases like this to become common.

"This is one small case in what will be thousands and thousands of babies born to mothers who have been vaccinated over the next several months," Rudnick said.

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