UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Maternal COVID-19 Vaccination and Its Potential Impact on Fetal and Neonatal Development Karrow, Niel A.; Shandilya, Umesh K.; Pelech, Steven, 1957-; Wagter-Lesperance, Lauraine; McLeod, Deanna; Bridle, Byram; Mallard, Bonnie A.


Vaccines have been developed at “warp speed” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Although they are considered the best approach for preventing mortality, when assessing the safety of these vaccines, pregnant women have not been included in clinical trials. Thus, vaccine safety for this demographic, as well as for the developing fetus and neonate, remains to be determined. A global effort has been underway to encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated despite the uncertain risk posed to them and their offspring. Given this, post-hoc data collection, potentially for years, will be required to determine the outcomes of COVID-19 and vaccination on the next generation. Most COVID-19 vaccine reactions include injection site erythema, pain, swelling, fatigue, headache, fever and lymphadenopathy, which may be sufficient to affect fetal/neonatal development. In this review, we have explored components of the first-generation viral vector and mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that are believed to contribute to adverse reactions and which may negatively impact fetal and neonatal development. We have followed this with a discussion of the potential for using an ovine model to explore the long-term outcomes of COVID-19 vaccination during the prenatal and neonatal periods.

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