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Should pregnant women get coronavirus vaccine?

Ramifications still unclear, confusing moms
Posted at 3:34 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 17:13:23-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With COVID-19 vaccines on the fast track for approval, the U.S. could be a month away from seeing distribution.

That means some people, including pregnant women, are thinking about whether they will get the vaccine once it becomes available.

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Vaccine trial participants have spoken about their experience, but what appears to be missing from that pool is pregnant women.

Unable to have her fiance by her side during sonograms, Kandace Layton is learning what it's like to be pregnant in a pandemic.

"This is not exactly what I pictured my first pregnancy to look like," Layton said.

Her baby is due in April, and there is a lot to keep up with, including the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

"I feel that there isn't enough for us to know the ramifications of what happens after you get the COVID vaccine for pregnant women," Layton said.

Jennifer Rodriguez
Jennifer Rodriguez was 17 weeks pregnant when she caught COVID-19.

That is a big question mark -- even for board-certified OB-GYN Dr. Colette Brown-Graham -- who has been practicing in Wellington for 25 years.

"I'm a little concerned that pregnant women are not in the flow of getting the vaccine, but I understand why, and I don't know that we have any way around it. … How we got through with the flu vaccine, like I said, was people got the vaccine," said Brown-Graham.

For many women, it will be a balance to determine risk.

Jennifer Rodriguez had COVID-19 when she was 17 weeks pregnant but said her symptoms were mild.

"All I can tell everyone is take good care of yourself. I never thought it would happen to me, but it did, and I'm very lucky it wasn't anything severe," Rodriguez said.

In her case, she is likely to have developed antibodies and said she wouldn't get the vaccine.

Layton said she would consider the vaccine after delivery, but Annie Vera is pregnant and might have her baby this month.

Dr. Colette Brown-Graham
Dr. Colette Brown-Graham, an OB-GYN in Wellington, says she believes the COVID-19 vaccine will be safe for pregnant women at some point.

Vera will deliver her child before a vaccine is distributed, but there's another factor to consider.

"I breastfed all my kids. This is my fourth baby," Vera said.

Brown-Graham believes it will be safe for pregnant women at some point, just like it's safe and recommended for them to get flu and whooping cough vaccines, but she's not making that call for her patients.

"I had a very smart resident adviser who said never be the first, never be the last, always be somewhere in the middle, so no I'm not going to be the first OB-GYN that says, 'yes, you're pregnant, come get the vaccine,'" said Brown-Graham.

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