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Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women

A surge of pregnant women hospitalized with tragic outcomes due to COVID-19 is alarming health officials across the U.S.

SEATTLE — Roughly 25% of pregnant women have started their COVID-19 vaccination process as of the beginning of September, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Pregnant women were not part of the initial COVID-19 vaccine trials in 2020, so how do we know if it is safe for them to get vaccinated?

To verify, we looked at CDC data and consulted with fertility specialist Dr. Lorna Marshall, and Dr. Tanya Sorensen, a maternal-fetal physician at Swedish Health who recently spoke at a Washington State Hospital Association COVID-19 briefing.

More pregnant women across the country are being hospitalized with COVID-19 than ever before, a reality Sorensen sees every day.

RELATED: UW Medicine study finds pregnant women do well with COVID-19 vaccines

"We’re seeing ICU admissions; we’re seeing maternal deaths; we’re seeing babies born prematurely," said Sorensen. "It’s heartbreaking to spend my day in the ICU taking care of women who are pregnant and may not make it. They may leave their babies motherless. It’s really rough."

The CDC has tracked nearly 140,000 vaccinated pregnant women and the data is crystal clear.

"It’s completely safe for [women] to take the vaccine at any time during the pregnancy,” said Marshall. “There have been no safety issues at all that have been identified.”

The CDC updated its guidance in August and now officially recommends women who are expectant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Marshall said pregnant women shouldn’t just get vaccinated for themselves. There is also an added benefit: they will pass along their immunity to their babies.

"The antibodies that are produced by the vaccine are found in the [umbilical] cord blood of babies and also in breast milk and confer immunity on the babies after they're born,” explained Marshall. “Honestly, honestly, I can't think of a single reason why a woman wouldn't get vaccinated while they’re pregnant."

"Pregnant women need to get vaccinated,” Sorensen concluded succinctly. “We need you to be fully vaccinated, and you need to do it now."

So, we can verify, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should get vaccinated against COVID-19. Not only is it proven to be safe, but it’s also dangerous if they don’t.