Year of Publication
Importance: COVID-19 vaccination is recommended during pregnancy for the protection of the mother. Little is known about the immune response to booster vaccinations during pregnancy.
Objective: To measure immune responses to COVID-19 primary and booster mRNA vaccination during pregnancy and transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn.
Design: Prospective cohort study of pregnant participants enrolled from July 2021 to January 2022, with follow up through and up to 12 months after delivery.
Setting: Multicenter study conducted at 9 academic sites.
Participants: Pregnant participants who received COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and their newborns.
Exposures: Primary or booster COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy.
Main Outcomes and Measures: SARS-CoV-2 binding and neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers after primary or booster COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy and antibody transfer to the newborn. Immune responses were compared between primary and booster vaccine recipients in maternal sera at delivery and in cord blood, after adjusting for days since last vaccination.
Results: In this interim analysis, 167 participants received a primary 2-dose series and 73 received a booster dose of mRNA vaccine during pregnancy. Booster vaccination resulted in significantly higher binding and nAb titers, including to the Omicron BA.1 variant, in maternal serum at delivery and cord blood compared to a primary 2-dose series (range 0.55 to 0.88 log higher, p<0.0001 for all comparisons). Although levels were significantly lower than to the prototypical D614G variant, nAb to Omicron were present at delivery in 9% (GMT ID50 12.7) of Pfizer and 22% (GMT ID50 14.7) of Moderna recipients, and in 73% (GMT ID50 60.2) of boosted participants (p<0.0001). Transplacental antibody transfer was efficient regardless of vaccination regimen (median transfer ratio range: 1.55-1.77 for binding IgG and 1.00-1.78 for nAb).
Conclusions and Relevance: COVID-19 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy elicited robust immune responses in mothers and efficient transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn. A booster dose during pregnancy significantly increased maternal and cord blood antibody levels, including against Omicron.Findings support continued use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy, including booster doses.
Trial Registration: clinical trials.gov; Registration Number: NCT05031468 ; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05031468.
Key Points: What is the immune response after COVID-19 booster vaccination during pregnancy and how does receipt of a booster dose impact transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn? Receipt of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy elicited robust binding and neutralizing antibody responses in the mother and in the newborn. Booster vaccination during pregnancy elicited significantly higher antibody levels in mothers at delivery and cord blood than 2-dose vaccination, including against the Omicron BA.1 variant. COVID-19 vaccines, especially booster doses, should continue to be strongly recommended during pregnancy.