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Getting COVID-19 vaccine toward end of pregnancy gives a bigger boost of antibodies to babies, doctor says

COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy can protect babies after they're born and lead to fewer hospitalized infants, a recent U.S. government study suggests.

AUSTIN, Texas — As the months go on, people continue to roll up their sleeves and get their COVID-19 shots and boosters. 

Mariette Hummel, an expecting mom, knows pregnant women run a higher risk of COVID-19 complications.

"I've heard from my doctors that it can affect your body, your placenta, your baby differently than a cold or flu," said Hummel.

A recent CDC study suggests there's another reason why pregnant moms should get their COVID-19 shot. 

"You're trying to provide antibodies from the mother to the baby," said Dr. Erica Swegler, member of the Texas Medical Association COVID–19 Task Force. "It's effective in decreasing hospitalizations for the infants and decreasing mortality for the infants."

Dr. Swegler said the biggest boost in antibodies is passed when a woman is vaccinated later on in her pregnancy. 

"The data would show that, at any time in the pregnancy, it's protective," Swegler added. "It does seem to be slightly more protective receiving the vaccine toward the end of pregnancy."

Swegler reminds parents if they get vaccinated toward the beginning of the pregnancy that, in the end, they can still pass on a good boost of antibodies. 

"If you got pregnant and you got vaccinated at the beginning, you should still be pregnant for that booster dose, which would come six months later and would protect you then toward the delivery," Swegler told KVUE.

Swegler stressed that when pregnant women get the vaccine, there's a 60% decrease in hospitalization and serious illness in infants once he or she is born. And since newborns can't get their COVID-19 vaccine until they're 5 years old, Swegler recommends moms get the vaccine while pregnant.

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