COVID-19 booster vaccination during pregnancy enhances maternal binding and neutralizing antibody responses and transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The immune response to COVID-19 booster vaccinations during pregnancy for mothers and their newborns and the functional response of vaccine-induced antibodies against Omicron variants are not well characterized. We conducted a prospective, multicenter cohort study of participants vaccinated during pregnancy with primary or booster mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from July 2021 to January 2022 at 9 academic sites. We determined SARS-CoV-2 binding and live virus and pseudovirus neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers pre- and post-vaccination, and at delivery for both maternal and infant participants. Immune responses to ancestral and Omicron BA.1 SARS-CoV-2 strains were compared between primary and booster vaccine recipients in maternal sera at delivery and in cord blood, after adjusting for days since last vaccination. A total of 240 participants received either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine during pregnancy (primary 2-dose series: 167; booster dose: 73). Booster vaccination resulted in significantly higher binding and nAb titers, including to the Omicron BA.1 variant, in maternal serum at delivery and in cord blood compared to a primary 2-dose series (range 0.44–0.88 log10 higher, p < 0.0001 for all comparisons). Live virus nAb to Omicron BA.1 were present at delivery in 9 % (GMT ID50 12.7) of Pfizer and 22 % (GMT ID50 14.7) of Moderna primary series recipients, and in 73 % (GMT ID50 60.2) of mRNA boosted participants (p < 0.0001), although titers were significantly lower than to the D614G strain. Transplacental antibody transfer was efficient for all regimens with median transfer ratio range: 1.55–1.77 for IgG, 1.00–1.78 for live virus nAb and 1.79–2.36 for pseudovirus nAb. 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 binding and neutralizing antibody levels, including against Omicron BA.1. Findings support the use of a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5296-5303
Number of pages8
Issue number36
StatePublished - Aug 14 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Booster vaccination
  • COVID-19
  • Neutralizing antibodies
  • Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Transplacental antibody

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'COVID-19 booster vaccination during pregnancy enhances maternal binding and neutralizing antibody responses and transplacental antibody transfer to the newborn'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this