Doctor discusses COVID vaccine and pregnancy risks

Doctor discusses COVID vaccine and pregnancy risks

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas steadily approaches COVID-19 Vaccine Phase 1-B which allows more people to get the vaccine, but should pregnant women partake?

The next phase will allow teachers, those in higher education, childcare workers, and those 70 and up to get the vaccine beginning Monday, Jan. 18.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are predominately made in the U.S. and they’re both synthetic vaccines.

After the first vaccine, you’re about 53 percent immune to the virus. After the second vaccine, you’re about 95 percent immune.

If you do not get the second vaccine after the first vaccine, your percentage of protection drops 0.9 percent every week.

NEA Baptist Dr. Kristin Owens, who works as an OBGYN, said there’s an increased risk for hospitalization, admission to the ICU, a ventilator, and preterm labor among pregnant women who test positive for COVID-19.

There have not been studies performed specifically on pregnant women who take the COVID-19 Vaccine during the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally, they’re the last to be studied with any new vaccine.

Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are the leading governing bodies for OBGYN’s.

“They’ve actually come out and recommended that pregnant women be offered the COVID-19 vaccine despite the fact that it’s not been tested,” she said.

This voluntary vaccine is a personal choice for anyone.

“For women, it’s really an important discussion for them to have with their doctor regarding the risks of COVID-19 and regarding the risks of the vaccine,” she said.

For mothers breastfeeding, Dr. Owens said women usually filter out things that can be passed to their baby.

If you choose to take the vaccine and decide to breastfeed, there is this risk. However, your body produces antibodies when introduced to a vaccine.

In the past, vaccinations prove these antibodies have been transferred from mother to baby, which could protect them from coronavirus.

“The goal of the body is to produce the antibodies,” she said. “With that, if a mother produces antibodies, oftentimes in vaccinations we give them, the breastfeeding mothers, with the thought that they will help to produce antibodies that they may then transfer via breast milk to their baby.”

This has not been directly studied since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Regardless if you’re a woman or man, NEA Baptist Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen Woodruff said even with the vaccines complete, you still need to wear a mask.

“Theoretically, I could have someone come along and give me the virus in my oral cavity and I could come along and give it to somebody else who has not been vaccinated but I myself would not become ill,” he said.

While we do not know how long both vaccines will last in our bodies, Dr. Woodruff encourages everyone to consider the vaccine.

He hasn’t heard of anyone dying from the vaccine but mentioned those who have died from the virus.

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