Baby born with COVID-19 antibodies after pregnant mother gets vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

CORTEZ, Colo. (KDVR) – A mother who received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant gave birth to a baby who tested positive for antibodies at just a month old.

Haley Saunders received both doses of the Moderna vaccine during the third trimester of her pregnancy. She received the first dose during the first week of January and the second at 36 weeks pregnant. 

“After talking with my husband, we decided to go for it,” Saunders said. 

She said she passed up her first opportunity for immunization, because she wanted to do more research on how the COVID-19 vaccine impacts pregnant women. But she said her doctor told her there was no reason why a pregnant woman shouldn’t get the vaccine.

After the shots, Saunders said she had mild symptoms, like aches, but nothing severe.

Saunders gave birth to Reese Saunders on Feb. 24 at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez. She weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and Saunders said she is a healthy baby.

When the baby was just shy of turning one month old, Saunders said she took her in for regular blood work and decided to see if she had antibodies from the vaccine. The blood work came back within a few hours and showed the newborn baby had high levels of COVID-19 antibodies. 

“It’s not a breakthrough by any means, but for them to know we did this for science,” Saunders said.

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The lab at Southwest Memorial Hospital ran Reese’s blood work. Alan Laird, the Director of Lab Services at the hospital, said it was exciting when they saw Reese’s blood work tested positive for the antibodies.

“Seeing that happen with a totally new vaccine and new virus was exciting,” Laird said. 

He said some antibodies are small enough to cross into the placenta. Those antibodies can protect an infant from diseases for several months. 

“That was a case where our expectations about biology were shown to be true,” Laird said.

Laird said the hospital has seen a few other cases of babies testing positive for COVID-19 antibodies, but it’s with mothers who had the coronavirus and then received the vaccine. In those cases, they aren’t sure about where the antibodies came from.

Saunders said she doesn’t want other pregnant women forced into getting the vaccine just because her daughter received the antibodies. She said it’s everyone’s personal choice, and they should trust their gut. 

“I think giving people facts helps them make decisions, too,” Saunders said.

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