What Do The Expert Say
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has released a joint statement with ATAGI recommending that pregnant women should be routinely offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at any stage during their pregnancy.
The vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of severe illness and can also help reduce the chances of transmission.
RANZCOG recommends that all pregnant women who work in high-risk environments where you are more likely to have contact with people who have developed COVID-19, such as healthcare, quarantine or border protection, should consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Women who work in a high-risk environment might consider working in an area of lower risk for a period of time, working from home or taking leave.
You should also consider getting vaccinated during pregnancy if you:
- have a health condition that puts you at risk of developing severe COVID-19 such as diabetes, chronic respiratory conditions, high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease and obesity
- are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
- live in an area where there are COVID-19 cases
Furthermore, recent evidence has found the presence of antibodies in cord blood, which suggests that pregnant women who have had the vaccine may pass on some level of protection to their baby.
What Are Some Of The Side Effects From Vaccines
Most people experience little to no side effects after receiving vaccines. Sometimes, after receiving a vaccine by injection, a person might have some skin swelling or redness or muscle ache at the site of injection for intramuscular vaccines.
If you are allergic to certain medicines, foods, or other substances, discuss this with your health care provider before getting vaccinated as some vaccines might contain these substances.
Why Does This Theory Persist Then
First, lets have a refresher lesson on how mRNA vaccines the type of vaccine produced by both Pfizer and Moderna work. When the vaccine is injected into a body, mRNA a strip of genetic material enters the bodys cell and prompts the cell to build copies of spike proteins. These spike proteins are the bumps that protrude from the surface of coronavirus particles. The bodys immune system then learns to spot these spike proteins and produces antibodies and other immune responses that block the virus from entering healthy cells in the future.
There have been claims that a protein called Syncytin-1, which is present in the early development of the placenta, have a similar chemical sequence as the COVID-19 spike protein. The claim is then that a body that has received the vaccine might later confuse the Syncytin-1 protein for a COVID spike protein and block it, ostensibly causing an inability for a body to get pregnant.
But there is no reason to suspect this will happen, and heres why:
While the two protein sequences do share very small amounts of similarity, they are very, very short sequences. The likelihood of these protein sequences being confused for each other is non-existent.
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Is My Risk For Blood Clots Higher During Pregnancy If I Get Covid
Possibly. Both pregnancy and COVID-19 increase the risk of developing blood clotting problems.
- Talk to your doctor about your personal risk.
- If you are hospitalized for COVID-19, you may get medicine to lower the risk of dangerous blood clotting. Some of these medicines are safe for women who are breastfeeding their babies.
Advice For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
If you are a female in her childbearing years who is at-risk or able to be vaccinated for any reason, my advice is to move forward, says Mulconry. Its more dangerous to avoid vaccination because of internet claims about infertility.
A recent study from the United Kingdom points to no known infertility in animal test subjects. As more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the next few months, the data will continue to grow. But really, vaccinations have been around for decades, and infertility is not a widespread side effect.
For mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding, Mulconry advises caution as with any other vaccine or drug. The COVID-19 vaccine trials did not include pregnant women, but the vaccine itself has been administered to pregnant women, especially those who are in high-risk careers or immunocompromised. Due to the lack of data from vaccine trials, the United Kingdom is not currently offering the vaccine to pregnant or lactating women, while the United States leaves the choice to be vaccinated up to the women.
Im in favor of my patients doing research to stay informed about their health, says Mulconry, but there are no known impacts on fertility from the COVID-19 vaccinations.
At Rochester Regional Health, we’re committed to partnering with women to provide personalized, comprehensive OBGYN care throughout all stages of life. From annual OBGYN exams to maternity and childbirth care to specialized gynecologic treatments and more.
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People Who Would Like To Have A Baby
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future , as well as their partners.
Johnson & Johnsons Janssen COVID-19 vaccine: Women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination. There are other COVID-19 vaccines available for which this risk has not been seen. If you received a J& J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
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Dr Mosina: Available data suggest that there is no risk to the fetus. Early real-life data on safety of mRNA vaccines in pregnant women came from the US, which has a well-established vaccine safety monitoring system. These data did not reveal any additional safety signals for pregnant women or their children.
Other smaller studies also confirmed development of protective antibodies in vaccinated pregnant women, effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in preventing COVID-19 infection, and potential protection of babies.
All COVID-19 vaccines included in the WHO List for Emergency Use are not live vaccines, so they cannot cause disease in women or in their babies.
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Why It Is Important For Pregnant Individuals To Get Vaccinated
Data strongly indicate that the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh risks for individuals who are pregnant or might become pregnant in the future.
The CDC recently released data showing the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month was in August 2021. Data also indicate that 97% of pregnant people hospitalized, either for illness or labor and delivery, with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.
Bigger Picture Why Do We Need To Vaccinate Teens And Kids If Their Risk Of Serious Covid
Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is very important. We know the disease is not completely benign in children. In addition to requiring some children to be hospitalized for treatment, COVID-19 can lead to an inflammation in children called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children . We also know that children with COVID-19 at are risk for long-term complications, the extent to which are still fully unknown. Additionally, there are children who are exhibiting COVID long haul symptoms.
Even if a child had no risk of long-term illness or COVID-19 complication, they might still spread the disease to others, who may have more pronounced risks. Further, we need to eliminate pockets of vulnerability where the virus can continue to live and replicate and mutate into new variants. Those new variants may not be as effectively blocked by the vaccine.
In addition, children younger than 18 account for about 22 percent of the population. In order for us to reach a population wherein 70 to 80 percent of people are immune to COVID-19 a term called herd immunity children must be included in that ratio.
Higher levels of immunity will allow us to continue to open up the economy, resume a normal life and feel very confident in enrolling children in in-person learning, sports and activities. We need kids to return to school for their educational, physical, social and emotional health.
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What About In Pregnancy
The science is also clear the vaccine is safe in pregnancy. In studies of pregnant women in Canada and the United States who received the vaccine, minor side effects were similar to non-pregnant adults, and pregnancy complications and baby outcomes were similar to the background rate.
Research has shown thereâs additional benefit of vaccination in pregnancy, with the baby gaining some protection against COVID. Antibodies have been found in cord blood and in breastmilk, suggesting temporary protection for babies .
Getting vaccinated at any stage of pregnancy will provide this additional benefit.
Do We Have Proof That People Who Got The Covid
Yes. We know that natural COVID-19 infection hasnt caused infertility. If someone were to have had COVID-19, theyd naturally have antibodies to these spike proteins, and yet women who have had COVID-19 are still getting pregnant. We also know that from earlier trials, an equal number of women who were given the vaccine and who received the placebo shot became pregnant.
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Euronews: What Are The Dangers For Pregnant Women And The Fetus Contracting Covid
Dr Mosina: We know that pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 diseases than women in reproductive age who are not pregnant. We have seen multiple evidence that proves this.
Pregnant women face a higher risk of admission into intensive care units if they get COVID-19 or can be at a higher risk of invasive ventilation.
COVID-19 in pregnancy also poses a risk for babies. Pregnant women who get COVID-19 during the pregnancy have a higher risk of premature delivery and their children are at a higher risk of needing intensive care. These are facts that we know today.
People Who Are Breastfeeding
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are breastfeeding. In addition, everyone who is ages 18 and older, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future, should get a booster shot. Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the United States did not include people who are breastfeeding. Therefore, there are limited data available on the:
- Safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people who are breastfeeding
- Effects of vaccination on the breastfed baby
- Effects on milk production or excretion
COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause COVID-19 infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what level of protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.6-9
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Advice For Pregnant Women Changes
Since July 2021, one in five COVID patients in England who have become critically ill and required ventilation have been pregnant. This means that during this period, one-third of women in intensive care who were between 16 and 49 years old were pregnant.
These women were unvaccinated, which explains why they made up such a large proportion of severe cases. Most were already pregnant when the UKs vaccination programme started and had not taken a vaccine, as there had been no clear recommendation to do so. Up until recently, COVID vaccines were only recommended to clinically vulnerable pregnant women.
However, that advice recently changed. With the risks of COVID during pregnancy becoming clearer, the lack of vaccination leaving pregnant women more susceptible to severe COVID, and no signs of vaccines being harmful to pregnancy, the government and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are now advising all pregnant women to get vaccinated for COVID.
What About Women Who Are Breastfeeding
The CDC reported there is currently “limited data” for breastfeeding women, but said early reports have shown that antibodies in breastmilk could help protect babies.
According to the CDC, there is limited data on:
- Safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people who are breastfeeding
- Effects of vaccination on the breastfed baby
- Effects on milk production or excretion
“COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and the vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding,” the CDC’s website state. “Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.”
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “theoretical concerns regarding the safety of vaccinating lactating individuals do not outweigh the potential benefits of receiving the vaccine.”
The University of Chicago Medicine said that experts “do not believe that breastfeeding will provide any antibody protection to the baby.”
“However, we do not yet have any data on this point and it should be clarified in future studies,” the health care group noted.
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Prevent The Spread Of Covid
After you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions. CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional primary dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether getting an additional primary dose is appropriate for you.
Safety And Effectiveness Of Covid
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. It suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. Below is a brief summary of the growing evidence:
- COVID-19 vaccines do not cause COVID-19 infection, including in people who are pregnant or their babies. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain live virus and cannot make anyone sick with COVID-19, including people who are pregnant or their babies.
- Early data on the safety of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy are reassuring.
- Early data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine late in pregnancy or for their babies.1
- Scientists have not found an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine just before and during early pregnancy .2,3
- The monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is ongoing. CDC will continue to follow people vaccinated during all trimesters of pregnancy to better understand effects on pregnancy and babies.
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Which Vaccines Are Authorized
- The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorized for ages 5 and older.
- Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for ages 18 and older through emergency use authorization from the FDA.
All three vaccines help the immune system block the virus that causes COVID-19. This can be done in different ways:
- Two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine: this vaccine uses mRNA.
- Two-dose Moderna vaccine: this vaccine uses mRNA.
- One-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine: this vaccine uses a harmless, modified form of the common cold virus in humans called an adenovirus.
If Youre Thinking Of Becoming Pregnant Soon Or In The Future
Many people who are considering a pregnancy soon or in the future wonder if the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. However, theres no evidence that they do, according to ACOG and SMFM. While human vaccine trials did not specifically study fertility, no signs of infertility were noted in animal studies, or reported among people of reproductive age who have been vaccinated worldwide.
Getting vaccinated prior to pregnancy is a great way to ensure that you and your pregnancy are protected.
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Do Covid Vaccines Affect Pregnancy Fertility Or Periods We Asked The World Health Organization
Misinformation about the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on pregnant people and how it may affect fertility and menstruation have spread like wildfire, triggering warnings from health professionals that not enough pregnant women are getting jabbed.
But studies have yet to link any vaccine-related problems with pregnancy and foetal development, or menstrual cycles and fertility in women or men. In fact, studies and experts say it is more dangerous not to get the vaccine.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States concluded that COVID-19 vaccines are well-tolerated by people who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or lactating, further suggesting the benefits of having the vaccine far outweighs the risks.
The CDC study is one of the largest of its kind and drew data from a survey of more than 17,000 individuals.
To understand the data behind various studies and to get the facts, Euronews Next spoke to Dr Liudmila Mosina, Technical Specialist on Vaccine-preventable Diseases and Immunization at the World Health Organization regional office for Europe.