Doctor discusses importance of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As COVID-19 cases continue to climb around the country, a doctor from VCU Health is advising women who are expecting a child that the vaccine is safe to get.
This comes as the CDC reports low vaccination rates among pregnant patients. As of August 28, the CDC says 24 percent of those who are pregnant have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 12 and older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to get pregnant.
Dr. Aaron Goldberg, an OB-GYN at VCU Health, says those who are pregnant carry a greater risk of getting severely ill from the virus.
“Patients who are pregnant tend to have worst outcomes for themselves and even their babies in that they can experience preterm birth and some other complications,” he said. “The recent emergence of the delta variant does seem to be a potential source of worsening infection for that.”
Dr. Goldberg says getting the COVID-19 vaccine can reduce these risks.
“As evidence has emerged from studies pretty early on that track women who got COVID and also got the vaccine, it appears the vaccine itself really has no significant risks for pregnant patients, their babies, their pregnancies, and is really is effective at reducing the incidents of severe COVID, hospitalization and death,” he said.
Charniece Smith says she was hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine after she had a miscarriage.
“Last year in August, my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first,” she said. “Unfortunately, we miscarried that first pregnancy and it was about the same time the emergency use approval of the vaccine came out.”
At first, Smith didn’t want to get the vaccine.
“Everyone on social media was saying the vaccine causes miscarriage and infertility,” Smith said. “Just coming off of grieving our first child, I knew I could not risk getting the vaccine because I knew we wanted to try again.”
After doing her own research and finding those claims were unfounded, Smith changed her mind and received the Pfizer vaccine.
She got her first dose of the shot in January and later found out she was pregnant. Smith received her second dose in February and is now fully vaccinated.
“It’s the best option for you to make sure you and your child are safe,” she said.
As Smith waits for the arrival of her child in November, she is sharing her message to reassure those who are expecting that the vaccine is safe.
“Coming from someone who has lost a pregnancy, I understand your hesitancy,” Smith said. “You want to do everything you can for your baby. Believe me, the vaccine is one of those things that can truly help protect you and your baby.”
The CDC also reports those who get vaccinated while they’re pregnant may provide protection for their baby. According to their website, the CDC reports these antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood. More data needs to be collected to see how those antibodies may provide protection to the baby.
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