Should pregnant or breastfeeding women get the COVID-19 vaccine?
RICHLAND, Wash. – It’s a question that’s been circling around since the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for Emergency Use Authorization.
Should a pregnant or breastfeeding woman get either of the vaccines?
In the Pfizer-BioNTech trials, Dr. Brian York said these women were excluded but, during the study, 23 of them became pregnant. Eventually, nine dropped out after the first dose.
“The rest of them went on and received the full course of vaccinations and they’ll be followed through their pregnancy to see how those pregnancies turnout, but we don’t have any information other than they are going to follow those patients,” Dr. York, an Infectious Disease Physician with Kadlec said.
In the Moderna trials, women were tested for pregnancy before the first dose. If they became pregnant, they had to stop.
Now, Pfizer is doing further research.
“Some research in animals, with their vaccine but it’s not yet doing any human pregnancy trials,” he said.
The CDC said, there is no data on the affects of COVID-19 vaccines on pregnant women. However, Dr. York explained, experts do know how mRNA works.
“Messenger RNA does not enter the nucleus of our cells where our DNA lives so it shouldn’t interact with our DNA at all, and that is something that has lead experts to believe that the likelihood of the messenger RNA causing any damage to the genes of a developing baby in-utero is very low,” he said.
Dr. York said, pregnant women are at an increased risk for COVID-19. CDC studies show they’re more likely to end up in a hospital for treatment, which could outweigh the low risks of getting the vaccine.
“If a pregnant woman desires a vaccine it can be offered to her but they suggest that’s a decision that’s made in consultation with their primary care provider or obstetrician. We just don’t have the data yet to say that with scientific certainty but based on how the vaccine works and what we know about human physiology and development it’s more likely than not going to be proven to be safe,” Dr. York explained.
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