This week, I was vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, which brought to mind some frequently asked questions about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
I am a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Virginia, where I care for patients with COVID-19 and conduct research on how best to prevent, diagnose and treat this new infection. As I interact with patients in the hospital, some mothers and expectant mothers have asked whether it is safe for them to take the vaccine. Here is what I have said to them.
1) Can I get vaccinated if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Yes, you can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are either pregnant or breastfeeding.
An important reason is that COVID-19 is more severe during pregnancy. In a study of 23,000 pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported pregnant women were 3 and 2.9 times more likely to end up in the ICU or on mechanical ventilation, respectively. I find it reassuring, though, that the absolute risk remains low. Only about one out of 100 pregnant women with COVID-19 is admitted to an ICU.
Vaccines are, in general, safe and well tolerated during pregnancy……