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A Florida baby was born with COVID antibodies after mom vaccinated, doctors say

It was not clear how long the antibodies would last or if they were enough to give the child full protection against the virus.
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2021, file photo, vials for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are displayed on a tray at a clinic set up by the New Hampshire National Guard in the parking lot of Exeter, N.H., High School. A Florida baby was born with COVID-19 antibodies just weeks after her mother got a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2021, file photo, vials for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are displayed on a tray at a clinic set up by the New Hampshire National Guard in the parking lot of Exeter, N.H., High School. A Florida baby was born with COVID-19 antibodies just weeks after her mother got a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) [ CHARLES KRUPA | AP ]
Published Mar. 18, 2021
Updated Mar. 18, 2021

A South Florida baby was born with COVID-19 antibodies just weeks after her mother was vaccinated against the disease. Doctors believe she’s among the first babies with some protection thanks to the vaccine.

The baby’s mother is a front-line healthcare worker who got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine in late December. Three weeks later, she delivered a healthy baby girl.

During a routine testing of the blood that comes from the child’s umbilical cord, Boca Raton pediatricians Dr. Chad Rudnick and Dr. Paul Gilbert had the sample tested for COVID-19 antibodies, too.

The doctors had a hypothesis: With other vaccines, like the flu shot and whooping cough, if a mother is vaccinated within a certain time frame, her child will be born with some antibodies. Would the COVID-19 vaccine offer the same?

Their hunch was right. The family was ecstatic.

Related: Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women? What we know.

“Her first question was, ‘What does this mean in terms of protection?’” Gilbert said.

The doctors couldn’t give her a definite answer. They knew the baby had some protection but they didn’t know how long the antibodies would last or if they were enough to give the child full protection against the virus.

Data on this is still lacking. There are also no COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States yet for kids younger than 16.

What they did know is that the baby being born with some protection was a sign that the world “was turning a corner on this virus,” Rudnick said. Gilbert said they also knew the little girl was probably “one of the first in the world” to be born with antibodies from the vaccine.

The Boca VIPediatrics doctors wrote about their findings recently in a “preprint” article on medRxiv. While their medical research is new, it has not yet been peer-reviewed and will require additional study. The two say their finding will be published in BMC Pediatrics in coming weeks.

Other studies have shown that pregnant women who recover from a COVID-19 infection can transfer some antibodies to their newborns, but the amount is lower than what was expected.

For now, the doctors are keeping the mother’s identification and other information private.

Rudnick and Gilbert are hoping that their finding will be treated like a “call to action.” They’re hoping researchers will look into how much antibodies newborns can receive from a recently vaccinated mother and how long the protection will last.

As for the mother and her baby, the pair are doing well. The mom has also received her second dose of the vaccine.

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