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Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doesn't raise risk for pregnancy complications, study finds

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Pregnant people given the shot do not experience more birth complications than those who are unvaccinated, a new study has found. File photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/d81cdb5561a92e4b9da27cb276b64832/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Pregnant people given the shot do not experience more birth complications than those who are unvaccinated, a new study has found. File photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Pregnant people who become vaccinated for COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech formulation during their first or second trimester are not at risk for preterm delivery or other birth complications, a study published Thursday by JAMA Pediatrics found.

In an analysis of health data from more than 24,000 newborns in Israel, about two-thirds of whom were born to people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine during pregnancy, rates of preterm birth were similar -- about 5% -- for vaccinated and unvaccinated parents, the data showed.

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In addition, about 3% of newborns in both groups were delivered small for gestational age or with a low birth weight, the researchers said.

Similar numbers of babies born to vaccinated and unvaccinated people were hospitalized immediately after birth or during infancy, and rates of congenital abnormalities and infant mortality were essentially the same between the two groups, according to the researchers.

RELATED Study confirms risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for unvaccinated mothers, babies

"The results suggest that there is no need to postpone vaccination until delivery or to wait until after the first trimester," study co-author Inbal Goldshtein told UPI in an email.

An analysis of data for more than 2,000 babies born to people vaccinated during their first trimester of pregnancy also found no differences in the health of newborns delivered by vaccinated and unvaccinated parents, she said.

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Vaccination "is safe during all phases of pregnancy," said Goldshtein, a biostatistician at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

RELATED COVID-19 vaccine doesn't raise odds of premature birth

Babies born to people who had COVID-19 at any point during their pregnancies are at increased risk for preterm, or premature, birth as well as having low birth weight and other complications, research suggests.

In addition, studies to date have indicated that vaccination during pregnancy is safe for most people.

Because of the risks associated with COVID-19 for pregnant people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for those who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

RELATED CDC: COVID-19 vaccines safe in pregnant people, those who breastfeed

Pregnant people who become vaccinated may even pass immunity from the shot to their newborns, according to recent studies.

Goldshtein and her colleagues compared birth outcomes for 24,288 newborns, 16,697 of whom were exposed to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during the first or second trimester of gestation.

Although the study did not include pregnant people given the Moderna vaccine, as it was not available in Israel at the time, "there is no reason to assume any difference in safety profile between these similar vaccines," Goldshtein said.

Both vaccines are formulated using mRNA technology and are delivered in two doses during the initial phase.

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The findings "are incredibly positive and reassuring news for women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy and have concerns or face the time to get another booster dose," Goldshtein told UPI.

"They can now make an informed decision including both safety for the mother and infant," she said.

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