The effect of COVID-19 vaccination and booster on maternal-fetal outcomes: a retrospective multicenter cohort study

medRxiv [Preprint]. 2022 Aug 18:2022.08.12.22278727. doi: 10.1101/2022.08.12.22278727.


Background: COVID-19 infection in pregnant people has previously been shown to increase the risk for poor maternal-fetal outcomes. Despite this, there has been a lag in COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant people due to concerns over the potential effects of the vaccine on maternal-fetal outcomes. Here we examine the impact of COVID-19 vaccination and booster on maternal COVID-19 breakthrough infections and birth outcomes.

Methods: This was a retrospective multicenter cohort study on the impact of COVID-19 vaccination on maternal-fetal outcomes for people that delivered (n=86,833) at Providence St. Joseph Health across Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington from January 26, 2021 through July 11, 2022. Cohorts were defined by vaccination status at time of delivery: unvaccinated (n=48,492), unvaccinated propensity score matched (n=26,790), vaccinated (n=26,792; two doses of mRNA-1273 Moderna or BNT162b2 Pfizer-BioNTech), and/or boosted (n=7,616). The primary outcome was maternal COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccination status at delivery, COVID-19 infection-related health care, preterm birth (PTB), stillbirth, very low birth weight (VLBW), and small for gestational age (SGA) were evaluated as secondary outcomes.

Findings: Vaccinated pregnant people were significantly less likely to have a maternal COVID-19 infection than unvaccinated matched (p<0.0001) pregnant people. During a maternal COVID-19 infection, vaccinated pregnant people had similar rates of hospitalization (p=0.23), but lower rates of supplemental oxygen (p<0.05) or vasopressor (p<0.05) use than those in an unvaccinated matched cohort. Compared to an unvaccinated matched cohort, vaccinated people had significantly lower stillbirth rate (p<0.01) as well as no difference in rate of PTB (p=0.35), SGA (p=0.79), or rate of VLBW (>1,500 g; 0.31). Vaccinated people who were boosted had significantly lower rates of maternal COVID-19 infections (p<0.0001), COVID-19 related hospitalization (p<0.05), PTB (p<0.05), stillbirth (p<0.01), SGA (p<0.05), and VLBW (p<0.01), compared to vaccinated people that did not receive a third booster dose five months after completing the initial vaccination series.

Interpretation: COVID-19 vaccination protects against adverse maternal-fetal outcomes with booster doses conferring additional protection against COVID-19 infection. It is therefore important for pregnant people to have high priority status for vaccination, and for them to stay current with their COVID-19 vaccination schedule.

Funding: This study was funded by the National Institute for Child Health & Human Development and the William O. and K. Carole Ellison Foundation.

Publication types

  • Preprint