Which Vaccines Are Approved Or Authorized
The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration for people ages 16 and older . The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have emergency use authorization from the FDA.
All of these vaccines deliver instructions to the body that help the immune system block the virus that causes COVID-19. This can be done in different ways:
- Two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine: this vaccine uses mRNA.
- Two-dose Moderna vaccine: this vaccine uses mRNA.
- One-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine: this vaccine uses a harmless, modified form of the common cold virus in humans called an adenovirus.
Studies show all three vaccines are extremely effective in reducing risk for severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. They also help reduce risk for moderate illness. So, while some people who are fully vaccinated may still get COVID-19, they are protected against serious illness and death. Booster shots may be considered to further increase the effectiveness of the vaccines for some people. Ask your doctor about this.
You can read more about the different vaccines on the Harvard Health Coronavirus Resource Center.
If Pregnant When Is It Best To Be Vaccinated
There is no data that shows that waiting to be vaccinated until later in pregnancy is any safer than in the earlier stages. However, decisions about when to be vaccinated should be discussed with your health care provider. Considerations about the risks versus benefits of receiving the vaccine rest on several factors, including the level of active viral transmission in the community, the efficacy of the vaccine itself, and potential risks to the mother or baby. Mothers with underlying health conditions potentially have increased health risks associated with COVID, so a more timely vaccination schedule may be considered.
In terms of benefits to the baby, we do know that antibodies produced in mothers in response to vaccines also cross the placenta and can protect the infant this is called passive immunity. You can imagine that infants, whose immune systems are not entirely developed at birth, who are born to vaccinated mothers will already have antibodies and therefore some protection from COVID. This same concept is applied to giving mothers the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy to allow their infants some passive immunity to whooping cough when they are born.
Increased Risk For Severe Illness From Covid
Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
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Make Sure To Get A Booster
ACOGs recommending a booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the last dose for pregnant women, or a booster of the J& J vaccine at least two months after the last dose, said Dr. LaPlante, adding that it is important that women who have been vaccinated and are pregnant, get a booster dose.
Will Breastfeeding Pass Immunity On To The Baby
Multiple studies done over the past year show that COVID-19 vaccines generate an immune response and an increase in antibodies which are found in breast milk. This supply of maternal antibodies in breast milk may provide infants protection from the illness. As with other vaccinations, using the power of passive immunity to protect newborns is shown to be an effective way of preventing disease in newborns.
We believe that in the vast majority of cases, the benefits outweigh the risks, and the vaccine is much safer than contracting COVID-19.
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‘i Had Another Child Who Was Already Here And Needed Their Mom’
I was vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine in March, and I had my baby on August 4.
I didn’t really talk to anybody before getting vaccinatedI actually talked to my doctor after my first dose. I knew all along that I was going to get the vaccine once it was available to me, and when pregnant people were moved into a vaccination priority group, I knew there was a reason for it. So I got the shot. It wasn’t a hard decisionI believe in science, and my family is in the medical field and had all been vaccinated already. Weirdly, the pharmacist seemed a little judgmental about me getting the shot while pregnant, but other than that, I didn’t receive any pushback.
After the second dose, I had a headache, fatigue, and a super sore arm. Honestly, I felt like I got hit by a truck, but I was relieved. Of course, I think anybody has concerns when you’re pregnant about whether or not a choice like this will affect the baby negatively, but for me, I also did it because I had another child who was already here and needed their mom not to have COVID complications.
It’s a tough decision, but for me, it was just about following the facts and the science. Obviously, we don’t know anything super long-term yet, but I think when you weigh it against the risk for pregnant women, it’s definitely worth getting. Jamie Han, Chicago, IL: Vaccinated at 5 months pregnant
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
It Is Safe To Get A Covid
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, recommends that all eligible persons 12 years and olderincluding pregnant and lactating individualsreceive a COVID-19 vaccine series, Dr. Wilson explained.
All of the data shows that it is safe for anybody who is planning to conceive, for any stage in pregnancy, for the postpartum period and for breastfeeding mothers, said Dr. LaPlante. And on the flip side of that, it will protect pregnant women from having increased complications and increased adverse health outcomes that are related to pregnant women who get COVID-19 during their pregnancy.
We’ve had a lot of pregnant women get the vaccine, said Dr. Heshmati. When you look at the numbers from the end of September, over 160,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated and we haven’t seen any unexpected maternal or fetal adverse reactions from the vaccine, so weve got that data now to say that its safe.
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Cdc May Need Permission To Contact Your Healthcare Provider
Having information on details, like medications or clinical laboratory results, can help provide a more complete picture of your pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can help provide this information, which is important as we try to understand any potential effects of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. If you choose not to give your permission for CDC to access medical records, you can still participate in the registry.
Do I Need A Booster If I’m Pregnant
With the emergence of the new omicron variant, boosters are recommended for all adults in the US, including pregnant people . You may get a shot at least six months after your second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months after your Johnson & Johnson shot, according to CDC guidance. You can get any COVID-19 vaccine booster available in the US if you prefer to switch brands for any reason.
While the CDC guidance for the general adult population was strengthened because of the new variant, pregnant people were actually eligible for boosters before the general public. That’s because pregnancy, or being recently pregnant, makes someone more susceptible to severe COVID-19. The ACOG, which gives guidance to pregnant individuals and their providers, recommends boosters for people who are fully vaccinated and pregnant or up to six weeks postpartum. The SMFM also recommends boosters for pregnant individuals at least six months after their second shot .
Need to find an appointment? Text your ZIP code to 438829.
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What We Know So Far About Safety
Despite the reluctance to include pregnant individuals in clinical trials, this population still gets vaccines, and their safety has been closely monitored. In general, vaccines seem quite safe in pregnant women, says Sonja Rasmussen, a professor in the departments of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Florida. Flu shots that do not involve a weakened live virus and the tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough vaccine , for example, are not only considered safe but are actively recommended during pregnancy.
The latest review on the safety of the flu shot during pregnancy, conducted by the CDC, analyzed all of the 671 reports related to influenza vaccine and pregnancy in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System from 2010 to 2016. Although conditions such as spontaneous abortion and major birth defects were reported, their prevalence in vaccinated pregnant individuals was similar to what occurs in the general population of pregnant people. This suggested that the flu shot was not associated with pregnancy problems. A recent systematic review focusing on the Tdap vaccine also concluded that, when administered during second and third trimesters, it was not associated with any clinically significant harm to the fetus.
Animal studies done with an adenovirus vaccine against Ebola showed no maternal or fetal toxicity in female rabbits vaccinated during or immediately before pregnancy, according to Johnson & Johnson.
Can I Get A Covid
The CDC has indicated that the vaccine should be administered to those who are pregnant. Additionally, several professional societies have advised pregnant people to get vaccinated. However, if you have specific questions or concerns about your own health status, you should discuss them with your healthcare provider.
The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant people at high risk of exposure should consider vaccination because of the higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection in pregnancy and the increased risk of premature birth. Of note, the WHO stopped short of a full recommendation not because of any specific safety concerns about the vaccine but because of a lack of data in pregnant people. Additionally, the WHO stated that breastfeeding people should be vaccinated because there is no evidence that being vaccinated while breastfeeding has any negative effect on the parent or child, and in fact breastfeeding can transmit valuable antibodies to the baby through the breast milk, further protecting them against COVID-19.
While the overall risk of experiencing a severe course of COVID-19 is low, if youre pregnant you have an increased risk of getting severely ill if you contract COVID-19.
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Fertility Is Not Affected
There is a myth out there that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility, and the data says that it does not, said Dr. LaPlante, adding that there have also been myths that COVID-19 vaccination increases pregnancy loss or spontaneous abortion, and the answer is it does not.
Additionally, the science shows that COVID-19 vaccination does not affect fertility treatment, she said. In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has recommended that people get vaccinated even when getting fertility treatment.
Whats important to know is a lot of pregnant women have gotten this vaccine now and we really aren’t seeing anything unexpected, said Dr. Heshmati.
What To Consider About Covid
Your decision to be vaccinated during pregnancy should be based on your risk for exposure to the virus and how sick you might get if you do get the virus. Given the latest available data about COVID-19 risk in pregnancy and the safety of the vaccines, the CDC, ACOG, and SMFM strongly recommend getting vaccinated now.
If you wish to wait until after you give birth, it is important to control your exposures by limiting interactions with people outside of your household and using protective measures .
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Advice For Pregnant Women Changes
Since July 2021, one in five COVID patients in England who have become critically ill and required ventilation have been pregnant. This means that during this period, one-third of women in intensive care who were between 16 and 49 years old were pregnant.
These women were unvaccinated, which explains why they made up such a large proportion of severe cases. Most were already pregnant when the UKs vaccination programme started and had not taken a vaccine, as there had been no clear recommendation to do so. Up until recently, COVID vaccines were only recommended to clinically vulnerable pregnant women.
However, that advice recently changed. With the risks of COVID during pregnancy becoming clearer, the lack of vaccination leaving pregnant women more susceptible to severe COVID, and no signs of vaccines being harmful to pregnancy, the government and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are now advising all pregnant women to get vaccinated for COVID.
Read The Latest On Covid
Get reliable information on developments in the authorization, distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
The AMAs What Doctors Wish Patients Knew series gives physicians a platform to share what they want patients to understand about todays health care headlines, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
For this installment, three obstetrician-gynecologists took time to discuss what doctors wish patients knew about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination. These AMA members are:
- Nariman Heshmati, MD, senior medical director at the Everett Clinic in Washington.
- , who practices in Cleveland and serves on the AMA Council on Science and Public Health.
- Lanny F. Wilson, MD, chair of the Physician Well-being Program at Amita Health in Hinsdale, Illinois and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Avalon University School of Medicine in Youngstown, Ohio.
Covid Vaccine Safety For Kids
After rigorous review, the COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration for kids aged 5 to 11. In addition, the CDC recommended the vaccine for children in the same age group after it had been thoroughly tested on thousands of kids.
Dr. Pejman Salimpour noted, The COVID vaccine for kids was both developed and tested in the same manner as those given to adults. The side effects experienced by children during clinical trials were mild and similar in nature to those seen in routine vaccines.
I Want To Be Pregnant In The Future Will The Covid
The fear about infertility and COVID-19 vaccines stems from a now-debunked post on Facebook that claimed the vaccine would make pregnant people’s bodies attack a protein needed for placenta formation in early pregnancy, because, it asserted, the spike protein in the COVID-19 vaccine is “similar.” Experts have disproved this, saying that not only do the two proteins have “almost nothing in common,” but even if they did, infection with COVID-19 would have the same outcome. There is no research to suggest people who have had COVID-19 will have a more difficult time getting pregnant, and many have since the beginning of the pandemic. If you’d like more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, Dr. Danielle Jones, an OB-GYN who is also known as “Mama Doctor Jones” on TikTok, shared this video on YouTube debunking myths about COVID-19 vaccines and infertility, miscarriage and pregnancy.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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Expect The Same Side Effects
If you take a look at all the common side effectslike muscle aches, soreness at the site, feeling a little fatiguethey’re similar between those who’ve been vaccinated, said Dr. Heshmati. The other key thing is, of the 160,000 plus pregnant women who’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, we specifically haven’t seen any unexpected pregnancy, fetal side effects or problems.
Looking at the side effects, injection-site reactions are the most common, said Dr. Wilson, adding that fatigue occurs in about 60% and chills in about 40% while muscle aches affect around half.
Additionally, joint discomfort affects about 25%, headaches occur in about half of people, he said. But fever was the least common side effect reported.
Possible Harms From Covid
All medicines and vaccines can cause side effects. If you do experience any side effects, most of them are minor and temporary. However, some side effects may need medical attention. Read about potential COVID-19 vaccine side effects
Other vaccines given during pregnancy such as influenza vaccine or whooping cough vaccine, do not cause more side effects in pregnant women or their babies. They do protect newborn babies from these diseases.
Much like other vaccines routinely given during, COVID-19 vaccines are equally effective in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women.
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Pregnant People Were Shut Out Of Covid Vaccine Trials With Disastrous Results
Only about 34 percent of pregnant adults are fully vaccinated and more than 200 have died of the virus, according to the CDC.
Theres a long history of pharmaceutical companies excluding pregnant people from clinical trials over ethical and legal concerns. | Charles Krupa/AP Photo
11/01/2021 09:15 AM EDT
The decision to exclude pregnant people from the first wave of Covid-19 vaccine trials created a data gap that inadvertently fueled vaccine hesitancy in some cases, with deadly consequences.
With a lack of concrete data on the vaccines safety in pregnant and lactating people when they first became available, trusted sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hedged on recommending the shots for those groups, instead advising patients to consult with their doctors.
Subsequent analyses of real-world data showed the shots to be safe for those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. But by then, misinformation had taken root, with rumors spreading that the shots harmed fetuses or reduced fertility. Only about 34 percent of pregnant adults are fully vaccinated and more than 200 have died of the virus, according to the CDC.
If you needed evidence in your face that the old way of doing things wasnt working, we now have that, said Ruth Faden, founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, whose research has focused on womens health.
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