Manitoba's vaccination medical lead says there may be benefits from getting a COVID vaccine that can be passed onto infants.

Dr. Joss Reimer, who sees people who are pregnant in her clinic on top of her public health duties, says conversations about vaccine safety occurs all of the time.

"At this point, I would say we have unknown efficacy data from the trials. We have good safety data from the real world and we have theoretical benefits that we haven't yet studied," Reimer says in a Wednesday press conference.

While vaccine trials excluded pregnant and nursing women, there have not been any reported risks for them getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Trials are underway to learn more, including one out of the University of British Columbia. 

"What we do have is a billion doses (of these vaccines) that have been given around the world without any safety signals showing up anywhere in the world related to pregnancy or to breastfeeding."

Out of the doses given, there has been no reported impact on fertility, pre-term labour, or miscarriages. She says this is encouraging to see.

Another encouragement Reimer is seeing is that vaccine benefits sometimes pass from mother to infant.

"The infant might be born with some ability to fight off the virus because they have those antibodies in their system already," she says. "We do have studies from other vaccines that showed that antibodies, so that response that your body generates to fight off the virus, they can pass through the placenta to the baby."

The doctor says to a lesser degree, they can also pass to the infant who is breastfeeding from a vaccinated mother.

As of May 15, a total of 509 Manitobans have tested positive for COVID-19.