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Pregnant women more at risk of severe symptoms, death from COVID-19

The World Health Organization reports the Moderna coronavirus vaccine is "acceptable" for expectant mothers.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Pregnant women facing difficult choices during the pandemic got some reassurance from a recent World Health Organization report. It found the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine "acceptable" for pregnant women. 

But just how safe is it? One local doctor says vaccine safety should be measured against the very real threat posed by the coronavirus itself.

“This pregnancy is way different than my first," Katelyn Aiello Barnes said. 

Living in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a concern for pregnant nurse Katelyn Aiello Barnes.

“I was hearing of the placenta developing clots, babies miscarrying, not getting enough adequate blood flow, and it was scaring me a lot about the virus itself," Aiello Barnes said.

That's why Aiello Barnes says she got the Moderna vaccination. 

A new study shows pregnant women are 70 percent more likely to be infected with COVID-19.

"What they saw was the risk of all types of complications during delivery was higher," De. Mohammed Reza said. 

Dr. Mohammed Reza says that new study looked at how COVID-19 increased the risk of complications during childbirth for 400,000 women.

“The eye-opening part of that study showed COVID-19 was associated with a markedly higher rate of death of 141 versus five per 100,000 births," Reza said.

While the safety of the vaccine can't be guaranteed, the risk of illness from the virus in pregnant women is well documented. 

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