Pregnant women in a quandary over safety of vaccine
Some women are opting to postpone receiving vaccine shots until after giving birth
With the rollout of coronavirus vaccines underway, millions of pregnant women across the nation, many of them frontline and health-care workers, are facing the dilemma of whether or not it’s safe for them to get vaccinated.
Yadira Rivas, a nurse coordinator at Neighborhood Health of Virginia, had thought about getting vaccinated, but after consulting with her obstetrician, she decided to postpone getting the shot until after her baby is born, The Washington Post reports.
“One thing that the provider did mention is that it is worse to have the Covid than to have the vaccine,” Rivas said. But with insufficient data regarding the potential for increased risk in pregnant women, she decided to delay the inoculation, “Just to stay safe,” she added.
Pregnant women are not getting a clear answer when it comes to the question of how risky the new mRNA vaccines, produced by Mordern and in a joint effort by Pfizer and BioNTech, actually are. Some experts, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), say the safety of the vaccines, which do not contain the live virus, would likely have the same effect on pregnant and nonpregnant people. Additionally, pregnant women could become severely ill if they contracted Covid-19, which could also lead to preterm birth and other serious problems for mother and child.
Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) mostly agrees with the CDC, the ACOG adds that because of the lack of data, “the potential risks to a pregnant individual and the fetus are unknown.”
The imprecise information coming from the experts leaves the decision of getting vaccinated or not up to the individual in consultation with her doctor.
“The medical community has done a good job of saying, ‘We don’t know,'” said Daryl Stoner, an obstetrician with Einstein Physicians Women’s Associates for HealthCare outside Philadelphia. “That drives people crazy. They want to be told it’s safe.”
WaPo reported that women are asked to get a note from their providers before receiving the vaccine from Einstein Healthcare Network in Pennsylvania.
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