Vaccine reduces risk of severe complications, passes antibodies to baby
If you’re pregnant and wondering if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine, a new study says the answer is YES.
“We’ve had many expectant patients ask if they should get the COVID-19 vaccine, and this study gives us more data for them to make a decision,” said Kenneth J. Payne, M.D., OB/GYN with Norton OB/GYN Associates. “I recommend all pregnant patients get it, but it’s an individual decision and should be discussed in greater detail with your provider.”
The most recent study found that rates of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and birth defects were in line with rates for these same issues prior to the pandemic — prior to a vaccine. The dates of the study were from mid-December 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021, which was when the majority of those receiving the vaccine while pregnant were health care workers.
The study included data from Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, but not the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as it had not received emergency use authorization during the time of data collection.
“Clinical trials for the vaccines did not include pregnant patients, so this is important information,” said Dr. Payne, who has been board certified in obstetrics and gynecology since 2009 and has worked with thousands of pregnant patients over the years. “The study’s findings are not surprising as the vaccines do not have ingredients proven harmful to pregnant patients or their babies. It is very reassuring to be able to present this data to patients who have concerns.”
COVID-19 is especially harmful during pregnancy, increasing the chance of the patient ending up in the intensive care unit (ICU) or on a ventilator compared with COVID-19 patients who are not pregnant. Pregnant patients infected with COVID-19 are more likely to die than COVID-19 patients the same age who are not pregnant.
In addition to the vaccine preventing complications of COVID-19, pregnant patients who have received the vaccine have been shown to pass antibodies to their babies, either through the placenta or breast milk. Since infants are not eligible to receive the vaccine, this gives them another layer of protection.
“Based on current data, I certainly recommend pregnant patients get the COVID-19 vaccine to safeguard their health, the health of those around them and the health of their baby,” Dr. Payne said.
Talk to your provider if you have concerns about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.