Every day we are asked, “Can I get the Covid-19 vaccine while pregnant?”
Every day, we see social media posts about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and if one is brave enough to peruse the comment section of any of these posts it is easy to see that misinformation and concern for safety run rampant.
So, what do we do about it? We talk about it, we educate, and we correct misunderstandings. Every day.
Is the COVID Vaccine Safe for Pregnant and Nursing Women?
The short answer is, yes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) say pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19, compared to non-pregnant people. Most pregnant women who contract Covid-19 do well, but pregnant women are still at increased risk. According to the CDC, severe illness for pregnant people can mean the increased likelihood of the following:
- Intensive Care Unit admissions
- Mechanical ventilation
- Preterm birth
- Death or the mother and/or baby
Additionally, the “American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should NOT be withheld from pregnant individuals.” ACOG also advises the people who are lactating or breastfeeding should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine as well.
Despite what some may see on social media, the Covid-19 vaccine is not linked to miscarriage or infertility.
The state of Texas placed pregnant people in the 1B category. This means if you are pregnant you can sign up for vaccination right now.
Don’t Take Chances with COVID
It’s unfortunate how vaccine misinformation (especially around the Covid-19 vaccine) has influenced people to take greater risks with their lives and the safety of their unborn babies. The risk of the vaccine for the average person is 0% for death, and only 2-3% for mild to moderate allergic reaction, according to a study published on March 9 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The risks of adverse effects from Covid are greater than those of the vaccine. As explained previously, the risk of adverse outcomes for Covid-19 among pregnant people is greater. As of March 3, WHO reports Covid-19 has a 3.9% mortality rate globally. This may seem like a small number, but it is still millions of people.
In a nutshell, a person far more likely to have an adverse outcome (including death) from the Covid-19 virus, than from the vaccine to prevent it.
The Vaccine Is New and Has Never Been Tested
The mRNA vaccine is not new. In fact, it’s been in-the-making for over 10 years. Researchers and scientists (who spend their whole careers on these topics, and are way smarter than the average person on the subject) have been working on a vaccine for the common cold for decades – in fact, the COVID-19 virus is just another version of the common cold.
Additionally, the development and testing went so much faster for a number of really important reasons:
- Funding was thrown at the research – this is a great example of what can happen when science and research get adequate funding!
- We learned a lot so fast because the virus spreads quickly – researchers were able to learn more in a shorter amount of time because of how fast the virus spread due to its highly contagious nature and the fact that humans had no base-line immunity.
- Testing was done globally and many, many people volunteered! Talk about #teamwork! All testing phases went through the typical stages from safety to efficacy. So, we DO know that it is safe and works!
The mRNA Vaccine Changes DNA
Just … no. This is not even remotely true. This is not how vaccines work. Here’s the best way to understand the vaccine:
Imagine the vaccine as an email message sent to your immune system (the M stands for “message”). It essentially shows your immune system a photo of the virus and provides instructions for how to stop it. “Hey, when you see this spikey monster – here’s how to kill it.” Then, the message self-destructs, like a covert secret spy message, leaving only the information behind. Then the next time the virus enters the body, the immune system can recognize and annihilate it. Pretty cool. #sciencerules
Already, millions of people (including pregnant individuals) have received the vaccine to prevent COVID-19. It is effective. It is safe. If you have concerns, speak with your doctor. They will most likely tell you to go get your COVID-19 vaccine, and do with it a smile!
Written by Erin Cox, Practice Manager at MacArthur Medical Center, and reviewed by Dr. Jeff Livingston, Ob/Gyn and CEO at MacArthur Medical Center