DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Guidance released by the CDC Tuesday says pregnant and breastfeeding women can get the vaccine once it is available to them, and a local doctor is recommending it because it would protect expecting moms who are at risk of severe illness.
“It really makes sense to get the vaccine when you start considering the potential risk that mom can be admitted to the hospital if she gets COVID, she could end up in the ICU on a ventilator or even die, all those risks are slightly higher if you are pregnant,” Miami Valley Hospital OB/GYN Maternal Fetal Medicine Dr. David McKenna said.
McKenna said while this type of vaccine hasn’t been used before, the types that are harmful during pregnancy are vaccines made from live viruses.
“For example, the chicken pox vaccine, we don’t give that during pregnancy because it could actually cause harm,” McKenna said. “This [COVID-19 vaccine] is not made from a live virus, the virus does not integrate itself into the DNA of the person it’s given to.”
Posts on social media saying the COVID-19 vaccine could be harmful during pregnancy, or cause infertility.
While the effects of the vaccine were not studied in pregnant women, Mckenna said there is nothing in the make up of the vaccine that is known to be harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women or that would cause infertility.
“I would not dissuade anybody who is trying to get pregnant or have difficulty with fertility from getting the vaccine as well,” McKenna said.
Shelbi Nunery, a mother who is nursing her 5-month-old son, said she plans to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available.
“I’m not really concerned about any side effects or anything like that. I trust science, I trust the scientists who have done the work behind it,” Nunery said. “So I’m really excited and thankful that we have the technology and information available to get the vaccine available for people.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is recommending the CDC include pregnant women in the at-risk group, which would give them access to the vaccine sooner than the general population.
McKenna said women should talk to their obstetricians if they do want the COVID-19 vaccine.