Stephen Feagins, MD, chief clinical officer at Mercy Health Cincinnati has answers to your questions if are wanting to know whether or not you should get the new vaccine.
Q: I am trying to get pregnant – is it recommended for me to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended priority groups. Those priority groups include health care personnel, frontline essential workers (non-health care workers) and persons aged 16 – 64 years with high-risk medical conditions, including pregnancy, cancer, obesity, heart conditions, compromised immunity and other conditions.
Q: If I’m already pregnant, what are the risks vs. benefits to getting the vaccine when it becomes available to me? Is it worth getting?
A: Women vaccinated during pregnancy are likely to pass protective antibodies to their babies with protection probably lasting some months after birth. While the numbers of women becoming pregnant during the vaccine trials is low, early data from studies on the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines have not identified any major safety issues in pregnant women receiving the vaccines.
Q: Am I more at risk getting COVID-19 if I am pregnant? If so, are the symptoms more severe?
A: The ACOG has found that pregnancy may increase a woman’s risk for severe illness from COVID-19 infection, including pre-term birth.
Q: What are the side effects of the vaccine and how can it affect a pregnant woman and her baby bump?
A: Most study participants for both the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna vaccines experienced mild side effects similar to influenza-like illness symptoms following vaccination. These sides effects are part of the body’s normal reaction to vaccination and include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, chills, muscle pain, joint pain and headaches. Most side effects were gone within three days of injection.