San Antonio doctor explains if pregnant women should receive COVID-19 vaccine

According to the CDC, there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women

As we move through the beginning phases of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, some pregnant women are wondering if receiving the vaccine is safe for them and their baby.

SAN ANTONIO – Some pregnant women are wondering if the COVID-19 vaccines are a safe option for them and their baby, as we move through the beginning phases of vaccine distribution.

Pfizer’s vaccine trials tried to exclude pregnant women, but as Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, told viewers during KSAT’s vaccine townhall, that did not happen.

“They tried to exclude pregnancy, but 23 people got pregnant anyway,” Berggren said. “And it was about half in the placebo and half in the vaccine arm. About nine of those decided to drop out once they learned they were pregnant. But 14 pregnant people decided to stay in the trial. So, they are being monitored.”

That is still a small amount of data and Moderna’s vaccine has not officially been studied on pregnant women either, Dr. Shad Deering, associate dean for the Baylor College of Medicine at the Children’s Hospital at San Antonio, said.

“Our recommendation is that when these are available, that pregnant women be given the opportunity to get them,” Deering said. “I would say that we would encourage them in the sense that they are a higher risk population, and we care about them and their babies.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that based on how the vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant but understand it’s a personal choice.

Deering said that based on that knowledge alone, recipients should feel safe knowing that the vaccine cannot actually give you disease because of the science behind it.

“What we do know is that the two vaccines that are out now, so Pfizer and Moderna, they’re mRNA vaccine,” Deering said. “So, its not a live vaccine. So, you cannot get COVID by getting this vaccine.”

Deering said the vaccine side effects of the vaccine should not have any impact on pregnancy.

“We would encourage pregnant women to have a discussion with their physician, because when you take into consideration how prevalent it is in the community, what their other risk factors are, it’s something that if they want it, we do not want to exclude them from getting it,” Deering said.

The CDC said there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants or on milk production.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does recommend lactating women and pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.

Deering recently co-authored an article on this topic, to learn more click here.

Related: ‘We’re in trouble’: Residents receive emergency alert as COVID-19 cases surge in Bexar County

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