Even without a pandemic, there is plenty to worry about during pregnancy. As the vaccine continues to roll, there are still concerns about its impact on pregnancy. Covid-19 has added a whole new layer of health anxiety for those who are expecting a child. Therefore, one of the biggest questions that comes to mind for many pregnant women is whether the Covid-19 vaccine is safe.
Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company, said last week that it would answer that question in a clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in pregnant women. Results are not expected for months.
In the meantime, how can pregnant women decide whether to get the Covid-19 vaccine? What about those who are trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding?
We sought advice from CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Linawen. Wen is more than just an emergency physician and a public health expert. She is also the mother of a 3-year-old son and a 10-month-old baby girl born during a pandemic.
CNN: Is the coronavirus vaccine approved for pregnant women?
Dr. Liana Wen: Not technically, but an option for pregnant women. The reason is as follows. Initial clinical trials did not include pregnant or lactating individuals. Some women became pregnant during the course of the study, but the study was not aimed at studying the effects of the vaccine on pregnancy, so enough data for the Food and Drug Administration to approve injections for pregnant individuals. There was no.
Thousands Pregnant woman Anyway, I decided to get the coronavirus vaccine. There are no serious safety issues reported for these women. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA, and other experts have clearly stated that all qualified pregnant individuals should choose to be vaccinated.
CNN: Why do pregnant women take it if the vaccine has not been specifically tested during pregnancy?
Wen: Pregnant women are at increased risk of serious complications from Covid-19. Pregnant women are at increased risk of being hospitalized and entering the ICU compared to non-pregnant women. The risk for pregnant patients with underlying illness is even higher.
This is why OB-GYN medical institutions recommend offering options for vaccination of pregnant women.The· American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists And the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Society said, “For the clear evidence of the dangers of Covid-19 during pregnancy, the lack of data showing side effects associated with vaccines during pregnancy, and the benefit of patient autonomy, ACOG and SMFM Is recommended. ” Pregnant individuals are free to make their own informed decisions regarding Covid-19 vaccination. “
CNN: So how do you recommend this decision to pregnant women?
Wen: Here are two things that encourage my patients to consider. First of all, what are the risks of being exposed to Covid-19? Let’s say my patient is a nurse or respiratory therapist treating a Covid-19 patient. The person has been exposed to considerable occupational exposure and vaccination can effectively protect her during pregnancy. Perhaps she has a spouse in a high-risk occupation or lives in a family that cannot keep physical distance from a family member at risk of exposure. It will now be in favor of getting the vaccine.
Second, what are the risks of serious consequences if infected with Covid-19? Pregnancy alone already makes people more susceptible to more serious illnesses. If you have other underlying medical conditions, you are at even higher risk because the risks are additive. Conditions such as chronic lung, kidney, and heart problems. Diabetes; hypertension; sickle cell disease can exacerbate the effects of coronavirus. Patients who are pregnant and have these underlying medical conditions can substantially benefit from the vaccine.
In conclusion, the risk of adverse effects from the Covid-19 vaccine is theoretical, not the risk of Covid-19 infection. Based on what we know about vaccines, there is no reason to believe that it has a detrimental effect on the pregnancy or long-term health of the mother or baby. Lack of evidence does not mean that it cannot exist, but this kind of theoretically very low risk weighs against the actual and potentially very high risk of serious consequences from Covid-19. is needed.
This is why many medical professionals during pregnancy have been vaccinated.
CNN: What about breastfeeding women?
Wen: There is no clear data that the vaccine is absolutely safe for breastfeeding people. But there is no physiological reason why it is unsafe. Vaccines that may be of concern are vaccines that contain live viruses. The Covid-19 vaccine currently approved in the United States (and the vaccine currently in clinical trials here) does not contain live virus. In fact, if anything, vaccines can bring additional benefits to babies. Several recent studies suggest that protective antibodies may be transferred to babies via breast milk.
CNN: You were pregnant at this time last year. If the vaccine was available during pregnancy or breastfeeding, did you get the vaccine?
Wen: I am a healthcare professional examining patients with high-risk occupational exposure and also suffer from asthma. Yes, if the vaccine was available during pregnancy, I would have received the vaccine. By the time the vaccine was approved, I had stopped breastfeeding. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I participated in the vaccine trial. If I’m still breastfeeding and have the opportunity to get the vaccine, I’ll take it without hesitation.
CNN: What do you say to anyone who wants to wait for clinical trials to prove that the vaccine is safe for pregnant and lactating women?
Wen: I think that is also a reasonable choice. Everyone needs to make the best decision for themselves. Much is written about the ethics of vaccines during pregnancy. On the other hand, concerns about pregnant women and their babies make it reasonable not to include pregnant women in the initial vaccine trial. On the other hand, it is unfair to deny the benefits of vaccines across the group. For example, the majority of healthcare professionals are women of reproductive age.
Many other vaccines are not actually specifically tested during pregnancy, but are given regularly because the proven benefits outweigh the theoretical risks. I think every patient needs to consult with their healthcare provider and make the right decisions for themselves and their families.
It is important to note that pregnant or lactating women are not included in the priority vaccination group simply because they are pregnant or postpartum. If vaccination is not prioritized in any other way (due to high-risk occupations, existing health conditions, etc.), like everyone else, you need to wait for your turn to join a qualified group. there is.
CNN: There is some false information about vaccines and fertility. Can you get rid of this?
Wen: Okay. There is no relationship between coronavirus vaccine and fertility.This was thoroughly revealed, and several medical societies In the world A statement to this effect has been issued.
CNN: What do you say to women who are thinking or are about to become pregnant? Should they be vaccinated?
Wen: If they belong to a priority group to vaccinate and can be vaccinated, I think they should. There is no reason to postpone it. Of course, you should always consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have a medical procedure planned. For example, if you are planning an IVF procedure, you may not want to time the vaccine on the exact same day as the procedure to avoid simultaneous side effects.
The vaccine is very effective in preventing Covid-19 diseases, especially severe ones, but it is not 100% effective and it is still fully understood whether the vaccinated person can infect the virus. Not. Even after vaccination, people still need to be careful.
For pregnant patients, that means they can breathe a little easier when they go to a prenatal visit, but they should definitely wear masks and follow physical distance guidelines in public places. is.
For breastfeeding women, they have good immunity, but it’s still important to keep a good physical distance for their baby, as they don’t know if their baby will. .. And for everyone, it’s a good idea to pay close attention until more people are vaccinated and we approach herd immunity.
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