Maternal COVID-19 vaccine trial set to begin on Gulf Coast

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — There have been many questions about the coronavirus vaccine and pregnant mothers.

There is a trial preparing to begin on the Gulf Coast to study the efficacy of a maternal COVID-19 vaccine.

“As a mom, it feels more empowering, there’s just that much more that I can do to protect my child,” said Molly Palamore.

Palamore is an educational assistant at the University of South Alabama, and last month was eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. She’s 29 weeks pregnant and says she had to think carefully about if she wanted to get it.

“I want to help as much as possible, I support the vaccine, but I was just hesitant because I have just a little bit more to think about,” she explained.

A few weeks ago, she was discussing her concerns with her doctor. Her doctor informed her she was eligible to take part in a trial that will study if antibodies from a mother’s COVID-19 vaccine will be passed along to their child after birth. Palmore says at that point she knew her decision was pretty much made.

“I was ready to go, because this was a question I know I want answered. and as much health anxiety as there is for other mothers, it would be nice to help answer it for them too,” said Palmore.

The trial is taking place at Springhill Medical Center, by MedPharmics.

“We’re also looking to see what kind of immunity the baby may get, how much immunity, how long that immunity will last. The same thing applies for moms,” said Dr. Max Rogers, the Principal Investigator with MedPharmics.

Dr. Rogers says the vaccine is safe for pregnant mothers to get, but now the important part is studying what happens to their children. “The home run for us would be to vaccinate pregnant women with the coronavirus vaccination and provide instant immunity at birth to their child,” he explained.

Researchers want to give the vaccine to women who are past 27 weeks pregnant, after the baby is fully formed. Women up to 36 weeks pregnant can also participate.

“She will be randomized into one of two different groups one of them will receive the vaccine, the other will receive the placebo. Then she will be followed monthly. We will be drawing her blood. At the time of delivery, we will instantly check to see if she received the vaccine or the placebo. If she received the placebo, she will receive the vaccination right then and there,” said Dr. Rogers.

After delivery, the babies will be followed for six months, and they will also check on them after the trial is over.

“There is a plan to reach back out to them to see what kind of long-term effects we may have created,” said Dr. Rogers.

Palmore says she feels empowered to be part of this trial.

“I’m confident this is safe and I’m doing the best thing I can do for my child and other children. And being a part of a trial is so fun,” said Palmore.

You can find more information about the Maternal COVID-19 trial here.

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