NewsLocal NewsCoronavirus


Should pregnant women get the coronavirus vaccine?

Virus Outbreak Pregnancy
Posted at 10:43 AM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 10:55:34-05

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says COVID-19 vaccinations should not be withheld from pregnant women, who should discuss individual risks and benefits with their health care providers.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) says pregnant women should not receive the Moderna vaccine unless they are at high risk of exposure, such as health care workers.

What do we know for sure? Pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

"The recommendation right now is that pregnant women should get the vaccine. It appears to be as safe as it is for other populations," said Dr. Kevin Taylor, the Emergency Room Director for Bethesda Hospital. "It’s important to know that COVID infection during pregnancy is a higher risk situation."

Why don't we know more? COVID-19 vaccines have so far not been tested in pregnant women. Evidence about safety and effectiveness is reassuring from data in studies that inadvertently included some pregnant women.

"In that small data set of women that did get pregnant while in the trial, they really didn’t see any significant concerns at all," said Taylor. "Furthermore the vaccine did work as it did with other populations to prevent severe COVID-19 infections."

Taylor spoke to WPTV and answered viewers' questions about the vaccine and pregnant women.

You can watch the full interview below:

Many viewers had questions about the contents of the vaccine.

"The technology for the Moderna and the Pfizer of course is MRNA technology. It’s been around for a long time, but this is one of the first times that they have used it in this massive of a way." said Taylor. "The Johnson & Johnson vaccine that’s coming out soon is a replicating viral vector technology that has been used before for other types of vaccines. It uses DNA instead of RNA in a non-replicating viral vector, an adno-virus to insert the vaccine. So we don’t know yet whether or not that could present new and different side effects and risks until we get more of their data released."

Taylor also addressed questions about breastfeeding.

"The virus itself does not cross over into the breast milk. There’s no real reason to believe that the protein that’s produced from the vaccine would cross over into the breast milk and cause any problems at all," said Taylor. "In fact, it is likely that the antibodies that the mother produces after getting the vaccine, which we do know those things do cross over into breast milk, can be potentially helpful to the baby through a process that we call passive immunity where the mother passes various antibodies to various things over to the young child through the breast milk."