Pregnant San Antonio doctor who treats COVID-19 patients receives vaccine after weighing health risks, benefits

Doctor says she has confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine and recently received her first dose

Pregnant San Antonio doctor who treats COVID-19 patients receives vaccine after weighing health risks, benefits

SAN ANTONIO – As Dr. Nayeli Rodulfo-Zayas, received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, all she could think about was her mother, who died from the disease in June.

“I thought of her a lot, and it was kind of an emotional moment for me receiving it,” said Rodulfo-Zayas, an emergency medicine physician at Baptist Medical Center downtown.

Rodulfo-Zayas has been treating COVID-19 patients during the pandemic.

“Being at risk of getting it every day, going into work, seeing COVID patients, having to take care of them -- I do not want to catch this disease,” she said.

Rodulfo-Zayas is 34 weeks pregnant. She said she did her research on how safe it was before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. It does not enter the nucleus of the cell or alter the DNA. So, in theory, it should not cause any genetic abnormalities in the fetus,” Rodulfo-Zayas said.

She said she made an informed decision with her spouse after discussing it with her care provider.

“It’s a conversation that I had with my provider and with my spouse and weighing the risks and benefits, and I think we made the right choice. And I feel very healthy. My baby is very healthy so far,” Rodulfo-Zayas said.

The only side effects she had were a little pain in her arm on the first day, and she felt a bit tired the following day.

“If you are pregnant and you get COVID, you can have a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lung. You can get blood clots in your legs, and you can have a miscarriage because it creates an inflammatory response. So I’ve seen those side effects in patients. I know of those side effects of patients, and those side effects scare me, of course, more than getting the vaccine,” Rodulfo-Zayas said.

Rodulfo-Zayas said she looks forward to getting her second shot later this week.

The doctor says pregnant women should have a conversation with their care provider before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: Should pregnant women get the coronavirus vaccine? San Antonio doctor discusses possible risks

About the Authors:

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.