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CDC encourages pregnant women to get COVID vaccine after study shows safety for mom, baby

More than 35,000 people, including almost 4,000 pregnant women, self-reported their side effects using the CDC's V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now recommending pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine after a new study shows it's safe for both the mom and baby.

A preliminary report from the largest study so far on coronavirus vaccine safety in expectant mothers looked at the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

More than 35,000 people, including almost 4,000 pregnant women, self-reported their side effects using the CDC's V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker.

“I’m pregnant with a boy," Katelyn Aiello Barnes said. 

First Coast nurse Katelyn Aiello Barnes decided to get the Moderna shot.

“The arm pain was the worst, and that was the only side effect I got," Aiello Barnes said.

The results of the study showed pregnant women like Aiello Barnes had no major difference in side effects when compared to women who were not pregnant.

Pregnant women had a slightly higher rate of nausea, vomiting, and injection-site pain, and a lower rate of fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Mohammed Reza says this is promising news for women and their babies.

“We know that this virus is killing pregnant women at a much higher rate," Reza said. "We see that this vaccine does provide a lot of protection, as well as not causing harm to the mother or the fetus, so that’s really reassuring.”

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also found pregnant women had no difference in miscarriages, stillbirths, pre-term labor, or congenital abnormalities than pregnant women before the pandemic started. 

“I think the biggest message is to make the decision for yourself. Nobody can tell you what to do or what not to do, but be educated about it," Aiello Barnes said. "Talk to your doctor. Discuss it with your family.”

People in the study ranged in age from 16 to 54 years old. The findings are preliminary and looked at people in the United States from December 14, 2020, to February 28, 2021.