Is prenatal exposure to maternal BNT162b2 messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine associated with adverse outcomes at birth or in early childhood?
In a population-based study including 24 288 singleton live births, the risks of preterm birth and small birth weight were similar between newborns prenatally exposed and unexposed to maternal vaccination.
Maternal BNT162b2 vaccination in pregnancy was not associated with detrimental outcomes to the offspring.
Pregnant women were excluded from the BNT162b2 messenger RNA (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) preauthorization trial. Therefore, observational data on vaccine safety for prenatally exposed newborns are critical to inform recommendations on maternal immunization.
To examine whether BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy is associated with adverse neonatal and early infant outcomes among the newborns.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Population-based cohort study comprising all singleton live births in March through September 2021, within a large state-mandated health care organization in Israel, followed up until October 31, 2021.
Maternal BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Risk ratios (RR) of preterm birth, small birth weight for gestational age (SGA), congenital malformations, all-cause hospitalizations, and infant death. Stabilized inverse probability weighting was used to adjust for maternal age, timing of conception, parity, socioeconomic status, population subgroup, and maternal influenza immunization status.
The cohort included 24 288 eligible newborns (49% female, 96% born at ≥37 weeks’ gestation), of whom 16 697 were exposed (n = 2134 and n = 9364 in the first and second trimesters, respectively) to maternal vaccination in utero. Median (IQR) follow-up after birth was 126 days (76-179) among exposed and 152 days (88-209) among unexposed newborns. No substantial differences were observed in preterm birth rates between exposed and unexposed newborns (RR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.83-1.10) or SGA (RR = 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87-1.08). No significant differences were observed in the incidence of all-cause neonatal hospitalizations (RR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.88-1.12), postneonatal hospitalizations after birth (RR = 0.95; 95% CI, 0.84-1.07), congenital anomalies (RR = 0.69; 95% CI, 0.44-1.04), or infant mortality over the study period (RR = 0.84; 95% CI, 0.43-1.72).
Conclusions and Relevance
This large population-based study found no evident differences between newborns of women who received BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination during pregnancy, vs those of women who were not vaccinated, and contributes to current evidence in establishing the safety of prenatal vaccine exposure to the newborns. Interpretation of study findings is limited by the observational design.