Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine? Health experts weigh in

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 9:55 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Pregnant women, faced with deciding whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, were left with little medical guidance since they were not included in clinical trials.

Currently, little data is available for how pregnant and lactating women will react to the approved Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, but health experts say the results they have collected are promising.

“You … make educated guesses based on pharmacodynamics and other viruses that are very similar to the one we are seeing,” said Dr. Teresa Baker. “And that is what we are basing a very educated and thoughtful decision to recommend this vaccine to all pregnancy and breastfeeding moms.”

The vaccine, which utilizes mRNA technology, does not contain the live virus and doesn’t interact with genetic material, like DNA, leading experts to believe it is unlikely to pose a serious risk.

Based on this data, medical associations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists along with the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine have recommended the vaccine for use for these groups of women.

Dr. Thomas Hale, executive director of the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center said in an interview that the conversation about whether a woman should get a vaccine should happen with a healthcare provider ahead of time since each case could vary.

“If a mother is really in that high-risk category, she is the one that probably needs to be immunized for sure because this could be the difference between life and death in these mothers alone. So, it is all risk-benefit ratio,” said Hale.

Currently, there is no federal guidance or data for when it is best for pregnant women to get the vaccine, it is usually safer to wait until after the first trimester or even up to 6 months before getting any medication or vaccine.

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