If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you have enough to worry about without adding contracting COVID-19 to the mix. Fortunately, a vaccine could be an option for you.
As of December 11, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer for emergency use. A second vaccine developed by Moderna was approved on December 18th.
The authorization of these vaccines has brought about many questions and concerns, especially among pregnant women. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for me if I’m pregnant? Will the vaccine harm my unborn child?
These concerns are valid. In short, if you are a woman who is pregnant, you can receive the vaccine.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, while pregnant women were excluded from the vaccine clinical trials, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are an mRNA which does not contain a live or whole virus. This means it’s highly unlikely to harm women who are pregnant or their unborn baby, and have historically been proven to be safe.
While not much is yet known about how the vaccine interacts with pregnancy, pregnant women are at a greater risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19, which could result in a high risk pregnancy.
If you are a woman who is pregnant and you want the vaccine, talk to your adoption professional and healthcare provider to determine if receiving the vaccine is the right choice for you.
3 Facts to Know When Considering the COVID-19 Vaccine
A few things you should know if you’re pregnant and thinking about get the COVID vaccine:
- There are two COVID-19 vaccines.
- Pfizer. This vaccine requires 2 separate injections 21 days apart. Data shows that it starts working soon after the first dose and has an efficacy rate of 95% after the second dose.
- Moderna. This vaccine requires to injections 28 days apart and has an efficacy rate of 94.1% after the second dose.
2. The vaccine is an mRNA.
Both vaccines are mRNA vaccines and do not contain a live virus. These vaccines work by using genetic material called messenger RNA (mRNA) that gives your cells instructions on how to make a protein similar to that found in coronavirus. Your immune system recognizes the foreign protein as a threat and starts building an immune response.
3. Pregnancy is a risk factor for COVID-19.
Many side effects of pregnancy such as hypertension and weight gain increase the chance of contracting COVID-19. Researchers recommend that healthcare providers do not withhold the vaccine from women who are pregnant.
3 Busted Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine
You’ve likely heard some myths about the vaccine, including:
Myth 1: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility.
One of the most common unfounded rumors surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine is that it can result in infertility. There is no scientific backing to support this, whatsoever. Since the vaccine is an mRNA, it does not contain the live virus and does not interact with genetic material. Other mRNA vaccines have not resulted in infertility in the past.
Myth 2: The COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe because it was developed so rapidly.
The urgency of the pandemic spurred many pharmaceutical companies to invest in a vast amount of resources so that a COVID-19 vaccine could be developed as quickly as possible. Though the development of the vaccine was quick, this does not mean any corners were cut. The development of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine followed safety protocols and have been approved by the FDA.
Myth 3: There are severe side effects.
There have only been reports of mild reactions such as soreness at the site of injection, and half of recipients reporting headaches, fatigue, or fever that typically resolves in a day or two. These side effects are a result of your body’s immune system responding to the vaccine, and have been observed with other vaccines.
If you are pregnant woman and worried about COVID-19, you can get the vaccine. If you still have reservations or questions about the vaccine’s side effects or how it might affect your pregnancy, talk to your doctor and adoption professional.