Doctors: It’s up to pregnant women whether they get COVID-19 vaccine

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — So far, two vaccines have been approved for use in fighting COVID-19, but pregnant women are unsure whether the vaccine is safe.

Neither the Pfizer vaccines nor the Moderna vaccines were tested on pregnant women, but doctors said this is normal for all vaccines.

The Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine officials said women who previously received the vaccine and later found out they were pregnant have had no adverse effects to them or their baby.

“We don’t think the vaccine will cross the human placenta in large amounts, but the antibodies the mom would make to protect her from COVID infections, would also cross the placenta and protect the baby after it’s born, just like newborns are protected for the first few months from any infection or vaccine the mom has ever had in her life.”

Dr. michael leonardi, Director of obstetrics-O.s.f. st. francis medical center

Dr. Michael Leonardi, the director of obstetrics at OSF St. Francis Medical Center, said it’s up to individuals whether they take the vaccine while pregnant.

“Technology for the vaccine is new,” Leonardi said.

Leonardi said there’s not an increased risk of a miscarriage or birth defect with women who receive the vaccine and said women should consult with their doctors.

“We don’t think the vaccine will cross the human placenta in large amounts, but the antibodies the mom would make to protect her from COVID-19 infections would also cross the placenta and protect the baby after it’s born, just like newborns are protected for the first few months from any infection or vaccine the mom has ever had in her life.”

Leonardi also said women should assess their risks and would recommend a nurse or someone in a higher risk situation get the vaccine.

“Most women who are pregnancy age do well even if they get the vaccine, but if you compare a pregnant woman to a hypothetical identical twin sister who’s not pregnant; both get COVID-19, the pregnant woman is 2-3 times more likely to be in the hospital, in the ICU, and on a ventilator and about 1.5 times more likely than the non-pregnant person to end up on ECMO, which is heart/lung bypass or to die.”

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