KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mary Williams has been working on the front-lines at Saint Luke’s Hospital.
As a nurse, she became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine during her pregnancy. Not knowing what do, she spoke to her doctor and decided to get vaccinated during her second trimester.
“The vaccine is a way I can make sure I stay healthy and hopefully help protect my unborn baby,” Williams said.
While pregnant women are not known to contract COVID-19 any more readily than non-pregnant patients, data shows that pregnant women are at a higher risk of complications if they get COVID.
“During pregnancy they are going to have three times the risk of going to the ICU with severe COVID illness and two and a half times the risk of going on special life support mechanisms,” Dr. David Streitman, an OBGYN with St. Luke’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine, said.
The CDC and the American College of OBGYN say pregnant women may choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but suggest having conversations with healthcare providers before doing so.
Streitman said the COVID-19 vaccines are similar to getting flu shots, which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed safe for pregnant women to receive for decades.
“There are other vaccines that we recommend during pregnancy to not only protect the mother but also to passively protect the baby. As mom develops immunity to some of these illnesses from her immune system response to the vaccine, those responses go through the placenta and passively protect the baby. That’s actually even been shown in COVID that antibodies that women develop against COVID after vaccination have been found in fetal blood at the time of delivery in the cord blood,” Streitman said.
Both the CDC and Streitman said there is no data connecting the COVID-19 vaccines to infertility.