Cortez woman gives birth to newborn with COVID-19 antibodies after receiving vaccine


CORTEZ, Colo. — Being pregnant during the pandemic was full of uncertainties for Haley Saunders, a new mom in Cortez.

She gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Reese last month. At 36 weeks pregnant, Saunders received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It just made sense for me,” said Saunders. “I went ahead and got vaccinated because from what I was reading, I thought that the risks of getting COVID during pregnancy were considerably higher than any risks known to be associated with the vaccine.”

During a routine check-up, Saunders said doctors discovered that she had antibodies.

“We were really excited for our family, but also to learn something new about the vaccine,” said Saunders.

Alan Laird is the director of laboratory services at Southwest Health Systems in Cortez, where Saunders’ newborn was tested for antibodies. While Laird said this is encouraging news about the vaccine, there are still unknowns about the level of protection Reese has.

“I would expect that the antibodies would degrade over time, probably within a few months, but again we don’t really know how long they last,” said Laird.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), clinical trials looking at how pregnant people respond to COVID-19 vaccines are underway. The CDC states pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Although data on the effects the vaccine has on pregnant people is limited, the CDC said they should be able to receive a vaccine if they choose to.

Saunders’ decision to get vaccinated came after a conversation with her doctor and research from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“It’s a personal decision…having a good conversation with someone’s medical provider is definitely the first step and reading up on what ACOG says,” said Saunders.

Saunders said she hopes other pregnant women who receive the vaccine will share their experiences as well, in order to provide peace of mind for people weighing out their options.



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