Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccine information from Dr. Homer.
Should I take the vaccine?
Hello everyone this is Dr. Michael Homer from Reproductive Science Center and I wanted to talk to you today about the coronavirus vaccine. As you know it’s now starting to become available, and one of the bigger questions, especially for our patients, is, Should I get it when I’m pregnant or can I get it when I’m pregnant when it becomes available to me? So looking at the current literature and the data, our belief is that pregnant women should be allowed the opportunity to get the vaccine. Looking at the statements from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and from the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine – all in agreement – pregnant women should be allowed the opportunity to receive the vaccine. And we agree with that.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?
So as many of you probably know, pregnant women were not included in that trial, so therefore it’s impossible for us to determine with 100% accuracy if the vaccine is safe for those who are pregnant. But we also know the risk factors when a pregnant patient contracts coronavirus and develops COVID-19; that can also be very bad. So this personal decision that you have to make is clearly going to be something done with between you and your healthcare provider doctor.
Some things to think about:
- What is your risk factor for contracting coronavirus?
- Do you have a job where you can stay at home and sort of isolate, or do you have a job where you have to be out in the public, small children at home that have to be in daycare?
- How about your social life? Are you keeping very close to home and keeping a very tight or very small social circle, or are you making exceptions here and there and putting yourself at slightly higher risk? That’s everyone’s personal choice and that would play a major role in deciding whether to receive the coronavirus vaccine or not.
Are there side effects from getting the vaccine?
We know that the coronavirus vaccine has some side effects. It’s not a lot. After the first shot, we know that 4% of patients developed a fever. Sixteen percent develop the fever after the second dose. A small fever that’s controlled by Tylenol is not considered to be dangerous for pregnancy. And when we think about vaccination recommendations from all of societies involving ourselves and doctors everywhere, receiving vaccines during pregnancy is something that’s commonly recommended.
Vaccines for the flu and diphtheria are recommended during pregnancy, and sometimes they can cause a small inflammatory or immune reaction, which might lead to fever or fatigue. But this has been proven to be extremely safe in pregnancies, and therefore we don’t necessarily think that the coronavirus vaccine would act any differently for pregnancies.
A June 2021 study by American Society for Reproductive Medicine Journal, F&S Reports documented, for the first time in women, that seropositivity to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein — whether from vaccination or COVID infection — does not prevent embryo implantation or early pregnancy development. Physicians and other health professionals must counsel women of reproductive age that neither previous COVID-19 illness nor antibodies produced from vaccination to COVID-19 will cause sterility.
“We hope that all reproductive-aged women will be more confident getting the COVID-19 vaccine, given Dr. Morris’s findings that the vaccine does not cause female sterility,” said Hugh Taylor, M.D., president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). “This, and other studies of this nature, further reinforce the ASRM COVID Task Force guidance that, no matter where you are in the family-building process, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and saves lives.
RSC is here for you
We know that parenting is full of choices. Every parent wants to make the best decision for themselves and their child, or unborn child, with the best amount of information that they can have at that time. We here at RSC are here to help. We will be looking at the information as it comes in from the CDC and from the trial data as well. We’re here to help guide you to make the best decision for you and your family. Take care, bye. [End of transcript.]
What are the available coronavirus vaccines and how do I get one?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations for the Pfizer-BioNtech mRNA vaccine that has been 95% effective in clinical trials and for the Moderna vaccine called mRNA-1273, with an efficacy rate reported to be 94%. Both vaccines require two doses.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has also been authorized for emergency use by the FDA. This alternative vaccine requires one dose and uses DNA technology that is more stable, but not necessarily more effective. It is thought to be around 73% effective in the U.S. with the initial variants of COVID-19.
RSC will not be able to provide the vaccine to patients. According to CDC guidelines, frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to be inoculated. However, the decision about priority rests with each state’s governor.
COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
To learn more about RSC’s coronavirus vaccine recommendations, please view our pregnancy FAQ and general fact sheet for additional resources.