Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination and Prevention of Symptomatic Infection in Infants

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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Maternal vaccination may prevent infant coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We aimed to quantify protection against infection from maternally derived vaccine-induced antibodies in the first 6 months of an infant’s life. METHODS: Infants born to mothers vaccinated during pregnancy with 2 or 3 doses of a messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine (nonboosted or boosted, respectively) had full-length spike (Spike) immunoglobulin G (IgG), pseudovirus 614D, and live virus D614G, and omicron BA.1 and BA.5 neutralizing antibody (nAb) titers measured at delivery. Infant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was determined by verified maternal-report and laboratory confirmation through prospective follow-up to 6 months of age between December 2021 and July 2022. The risk reduction for infection by dose group and antibody titer level was estimated in separate models. RESULTS: Infants of boosted mothers (n 5 204) had significantly higher Spike IgG, pseudovirus, and live nAb titers at delivery than infants of nonboosted mothers (n 5 271), and were 56% less likely to acquire infection in the first 6 months (P 5 .03). Irrespective of boost, for each 10-fold increase in Spike IgG titer at delivery, the infant’s risk of acquiring infection was reduced by 47% (95% confidence interval 8%–70%; P 5 .02). Similarly, a 10-fold increase in pseudovirus titers against Wuhan Spike, and live virus nAb titers against D614G, and omicron BA.1 and BA.5 at delivery were associated with a 30%, 46%, 56%, and 60% risk reduction, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Higher transplacental binding and nAb titers substantially reduced the risk of SARSCoV-2 infection in infants, and a booster dose amplified protection during a period of omicron predominance. Until infants are age-eligible for vaccination, maternal vaccination provides passive protection against symptomatic infection during early infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023064252
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024

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© 2024 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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