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Pregnant women not to be excluded from COVID-19 vaccine

'That doesn't mean that we need to run out and enroll all our pregnant women,' doctor says
Posted at 12:32 AM, Dec 17, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. — Months away from a COVID-19 vaccine for the general public, there is new guidance for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Many expectant mothers may still be pregnant when COVID-19 vaccines become available for the general public.

Other mothers may be already nursing and have a decision to make. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said vaccines should not be withheld from them.

Elisabeth Arreira-Ferreiro of Jupiter is nearing the end of a pregnancy in a pandemic.

"We have been really hardcore about, just, isolation and staying away from people," she said.

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Arreira-Ferreiro is due in January and, even though the COVID-19 vaccine won't be available until springtime, she, like many other women building a family, has a lot to consider.

"Because we do plan to have one more kid, ultimately, I do want to wait a little while to get one myself," she explained.

This week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists published an article saying pregnant women and lactating mothers should not be excluded from getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Elisabeth Arreira-Ferreiro
Elisabeth Arreira-Ferreiro, who is pregnant, says she wants to "wait a little while" before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

"To me, that doesn't mean that we need to run out and enroll all our pregnant women patients to get the vaccine," board-certified OBGYN Dr. Coletter Brown-Graham said.

Brown-Graham said pregnant women and nursing women should discuss the vaccine with their doctors and know the risks of not getting the vaccine.

"If you are pregnant and you get COVID, there's a higher chance that you will get mechanical ventilation," she said. "There is a higher chance that you will go to an ICU."

The doctor points out the makeup of the vaccine is messenger RNA, which does not change the DNA. Still, with no pregnant women included in the trials, she said she will be on the lookout for new data, but added there is another alternative.

"If everyone around the pregnant patient or pregnant person has gotten the vaccine, we're essentially creating a herd immunity for that pregnant patient," Brown-Graham said.

Arreira-Ferreiro agrees that creating a cocoon of vaccinated relatives around her and the baby may be the safest alternative for her.

"We are just excited for the little one to get here and continue what we've been doing to stay healthy and safe," she added.