Local health experts urge pregnant women to take COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Jan. 24, 2021 at 5:42 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Soon-to-be mom Rebekah Raabe is folding baby clothes in the unfinished nursery she and her husband are putting together for their unborn daughter, Elizabeth.

Raabe recently took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But while she is sure of her decision, many other pregnant women are hesitant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pregnant women were excluded from the trial for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

However, since the vaccines began being administered, the CDC has been keeping track of how pregnant women who’ve taken it are affected. So far the agency has not reported any adverse effects.

ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend pregnant women have access to the vaccine, because they say the protective benefits outweigh the possibly deadly risks of a coronavirus infection especially because pregnant women are considered to be high risk for COVID-19.

Dr. Jessica Ehrig, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Baylor Scott and White said she urges pregnant women and women of reproductive age to take the vaccine despite the limited data.

“We’ve had quite a few healthcare workers that are pregnant get the vaccine and have not had any complications from it so far. And the CDC is continuing to evaluate pregnant women that get the vaccine,” Dr. Ehrig said.

The vaccine works by releasing mRNA (messenger RNA) which provides instructions for the body to create antibodies that fight off the virus. The mRNA does not contain a live virus, according to the CDC.

And according to Dr. Ehrig, the mRNA mostly breaks down at the injection site making it unlikely to travel through the placenta to the baby.

Dr. Ehrig also encourages moms who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to breastfeed as they could pass on antibodies to their baby through the breastmilk.

For Raabe, she said making the decision to get vaccinated was an easy one. She also said her side effects were limited to soreness at the injection site--a small price to pay to protect her baby.

“Vaccines protect you and when you’re pregnant vaccines also protect your baby,” she said as she smiled proudly. “So Elizabeth has now gotten her first COVID shot as well.”

The CDC and other health official recommend that pregnant women consult their health care provider before taking the vaccine.

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