COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant people but talk to your doctor, CDC says

After new scientific evidence was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC announced new guidance for pregnant women and the coronavirus vaccine.

"CDC recommends that pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccine," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Friday.  

The research found no safety concerns for women who got the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines in their third trimesters, and no safety concerns for their babies either. 

"We were able to follow over 35,000 pregnant people who were vaccinated — pregnant people experience the same side effects as others following vaccination," Walensky said. "We were also able to follow in detail more than 3,900 pregnant women and over 800 of whom have completed their pregnancies."

Dr. Eran Bornstein, the OB/GYN vice chair at Lenox Hill, agrees with the new guidance. He has been advising his pregnant patients all along to get vaccinated at any stage in their pregnancies. 

Study: Pregnant women who get COVID-19 have higher risk of complications, death

"We know that women who are pregnant are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and may have a more aggressive disease and worse outcome and we also know the vaccine works very well," Bornstein said.

While the CDC recommends that pregnant women get the vaccine, it also encourages women to still speak to their doctors in order to make the best decisions for themselves and for their families.

Bornstein, though, said he is glad that women can now feel reassured with the official stamp of approval from the CDC. 

"I think this is a very powerful statement," Bornstein said. "It's very important to dispel some of the misconceptions that are out there."

None of the pregnant women involved in this research received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which became available after the study. 

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness when compared to people who are not pregnant, according to the CDC. Severe illness may lead to intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation, or death.

"Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19," CDC says.

Questions about the vaccine?

If you are pregnant and would like answers to your questions about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, the CDC suggests you speak to your doctor and/or contact MotherToBaby. MotherToBaby experts are available to answer questions in English or Spanish. This service is free and confidential. 

With FOX 5 NY Staff.