SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Pregnant women who receive a COVID-19 vaccine not only gain protective antibodies against the virus for themselves but also may pass along immunity to their new baby.
South Dakota is making progress in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout as the state moves to phase 1E.
The exciting news is being followed by another hopeful discovery: Avera Health Dr. Kimberlee McKay says babies born to mothers who received the vaccine while pregnant may be acquiring antibodies.
“This story is, is really, again, it comes at an interesting time because Duke University just pulled cord blood from a couple of moms who had been vaccinated, and it, it does appear that this, this, immunity is coming from mom,” Dr. Kimberlee McKay said.
Aberdeen native and mother of 4, Jen Stearns, decided to receive the vaccine while pregnant with her son in January.
He was born on March 9th, a day before the one year anniversary of Avera’s first COVID patient.
“They did an overhead prayer followed by a minute of silence and both my husband and I, it was an emotional time, having lost somebody close, then just grieving and thinking about all of the other lives that were taken so early,” Stearns said.
Immediately afterwards, Stearns learned her new son had the antibodies.
“I was so emotional. I just lost it, just, having so much gratitude that we’re heading in the right direction that, you know, both my husband and I were both able to receive the vaccine, knowing that we were protected and knowing that baby Stanley was protected too, was, was just added benefit,” Stearns said.
She says the decision to get the vaccine wasn’t made lightly, but knowing the risks of contracting COVID while pregnant ultimately lead to her decision.
“You’re trying to breathe for your baby. You know, normal people who aren’t pregnant don’t require the oxygen level that, that pregnant patients do. So the severe disease that we have seen has really been around that respiratory component. And we know that COVID can lead to preterm delivery,” McKay said.
McKay says the discovery brings her hope, and she highly encourages women who are pregnant to consider becoming vaccinated.
Dr. McKay recommends any woman who is pregnant that receives the vaccine register with the CDC.
For information on how to do that, click here.