Baby Born With COVID-19 Antibodies

Baby born with COVID-19 antibodies, to a mother vaccinated 3 weeks prior. Source: Shutterstock
  • A healthcare worker received the first dose of her Moderna vaccine at 36 weeks of pregnancy.
  • When the baby was born, doctors detected COVID-19 antibodies in the umbilical cord.
  • Study authors are unsure as to how long these antibodies may last in newborns.

Doctors in Florida have reported the world’s first known case of a baby born with COVID-19 antibodies after maternal vaccination. Doctors Paul Gilbert and Chad Rudnick presented the case in a preprint article published on MedRxiv.

To our knowledge, this was the first in the world that was reported of a baby being born with antibodies after vaccination. We tested the baby’s cord to see if the antibodies in the mother passed to the baby, which is something we see happen with other vaccines given during pregnancy.

Dr. Paul Gilbert, study author

Current guidelines deem Flu and TDap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccinations safe for pregnant women. And further, recommend them as they provide protection for the newborn through placental antibody transfer. However, there is insufficient research or data on COVID-19 vaccinations and whether they can result in the placental transfer of antibodies.

Vaccinated Mother Gives Birth to Baby with COVID-19 Antibodies

The mother is a frontline healthcare worker from Florida, USA. She was 36 weeks pregnant when she received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Three weeks later she gave birth to a healthy, full-term baby girl. Immediately after birth, doctors took a cord blood sample as part of the standard procedure. They detected COVID-19 antibodies in the sample; thus, confirming the placental transfer of maternal antibodies.

The study authors believe their case confirms that maternal vaccination, to a certain extent, provides protection for newborns. However, a few questions remain unanswered. Firstly, it is unclear as to how long these antibodies will last and how well they protect the baby. There is also no established COVID-19 antibody level for newborns. Moreover, there is no consensus on when during pregnancy is the best time for vaccination, that will result in the highest immunity for the newborn.

Therefore, the authors of the study call for further research into the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and lactating women, and their offspring.


Gilbert, Paul, and Chad Rudnick. “Newborn Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 Detected in Cord Blood after Maternal Vaccination.” 2021, doi:10.1101/2021.02.03.21250579.


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