The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new findings this week recommending women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
About 105,000 pregnant women in the United States have been infected with COVID-19. Almost 18,000 have been hospitalized, one-fourth of those ended up in the ICU, and 124 died, according to the CDC.
“This pregnancy is way different than my first," Katelyn Aiello Barnes said.
Katelyn Aiello Barnes was initially hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine when she found out she was pregnant.
“I was hearing of the placenta developing clots, babies miscarrying, not getting enough adequate blood flow.”
She got the shot after talking with her doctor.
“I think the biggest message is to make the decision for yourself," Aiello Barnes said. "Nobody can tell you what to do or what not to do, but be educated about it.”
A new CDC study looked at 2,500 pregnant women who got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine before 20 weeks in their pregnancy.
“Women who are pregnant, their immune system is a little bit weakened during that pregnancy time, so they can have a really poor outcome if they do catch the COVID-19 infection. It’s so much more important for women who are pregnant to get vaccinated," Jacksonville-area infectious disease specialist Dr. Mohammed Reza said.
The study found the vaccine did not increase the risk for miscarriage.
The CDC reports about 13% of women who got the vaccine miscarried, and miscarriage normally happens in 11 to 16% of pregnancies.
“Antibodies made after a pregnant person received that mRNA vaccine, those antibodies, those cells that fight off the infection were also found in the umbilical cord," Reza said. "What this means is during pregnancy and right afterward, this may protect the baby against COVID-19.”
The CDC data showed it's safe to get the shot while breastfeeding, and antibodies present in the breast milk could give the baby some immunity.
Dr. Reza said babies as young as two to three weeks have tested positive for COVID-19.