Saturday 16th January, 2021
Being pregnant during a global pandemic means making decisions not just about your own health, but also about the health of your child. One such decision is should you get the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy? Is getting the vaccine safe for you and your baby? Is being vaccinated worth the risk? Whether or not you decide to get vaccinated, it’s important to base your choice on the best information available – and that means consulting the experts.
Both the American College of Obstetricians and The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada have released guidance on the new COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. They recommend that for pregnant women at risk for COVID, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential for harm. This means that while we might not know everything about the vaccine just yet if you’re at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 (such as frontline or healthcare workers) or you have health conditions during your pregnancy that are associated with complications (like diabetes, hypertension, or obesity) then getting the vaccine – despite the unknowns – is likely safer than going without.
Two vaccines have been released for the prevention of COVID-19, although the Pzer-BioNtech mRNA vaccine is the only one currently approved for use in Canada. The vaccine uses your body’s own cells to generate the coronavirus antigens, which then stimulate your immune system to create the antibodies necessary to protect you from the virus. Although information about the new vaccines is still emerging, there have been no severe reactions among the populations tested so far, including a small sample of women who were pregnant at the time of the study.
While it’s true that these vaccines were developed on a shorter timeframe because of the pandemic, the new COVID vaccines have been held to the same (and often increased) standards as other vaccines routinely given to pregnant women. Women who choose to receive the vaccine as part of a discussion with their clinical care team may experience some common side effects, such as fever, fatigue, or headache, caused by the vaccine’s antibodies stimulating your own immune system. However, no serious side effects have been reported in the studies completed so far.
This is good news, but although the COVID-19 vaccine has been tested thoroughly in the general population, pregnant women were excluded from early clinical trials. Research on the vaccine’s use in pregnancy may still be in the early stages, but large scale studies done on the effects of the COVID-19 virus in pregnancy prove that when it comes to COVID-19, pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe illness than their non-pregnant peers, including the risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and invasive ventilator use.
Without further testing, some of the risks of the vaccine are unknown, but both Canadian and American experts agree that the vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant individuals – and that if you’re concerned about the vaccine or about your risk of COVID during pregnancy, you should talk to your health care team.
Posted By Woman360CareCOVID-19 During motherhood pandemic pregnancy Vaccine Covid19 Series