Is it safe for pregnant women to get the COVID vaccine?
Since the release of the COVID vaccines, the number one question moms-to-be have been asking is if it is safe for them?
Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 compared with women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, and COVID-19 has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth.
This week the World Health Organization released information on their vaccination recommendations for different groups of individuals including pregnant and nursing moms.
Because there isn’t insufficient data on mRNA-1273 vaccination of pregnant women they say it’s not possible to completely assess vaccine efficacy or vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy.
WHO notes, however, that developmental and reproductive toxicology (DART) studies in animals have not shown harmful effects in pregnancy. More studies are planned in pregnant women in the coming months and the WHO will update their recommendations on vaccination as more information is available.
For this reason, WHO recommends not to use mRNA-1273 in pregnancy, unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure and pregnant women with comorbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe COVID-19.
Women looking to become pregnant are recommended to get the vaccine. Pregnancy testing prior to vaccination is not necessary. Couples will not need to delay getting pregnant following vaccination.
Is the COVID vaccine safe for breastfeeding moms and nursing babies?
WHO states in their report:
“Breastfeeding offers substantial health benefits to lactating women and their breastfed children. Vaccine efficacy is expected to be similar in lactating women as in other adults. However, there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed children. As the mRNA-1273 vaccine is not a live virus vaccine and the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell and is degraded quickly, it is biologically and clinically unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child. On the basis of these considerations, a lactating woman who is part of a group recommended for vaccination, e.g. health workers, should be offered vaccination on an equivalent basis. WHO does not recommend discontinuing breastfeeding after vaccination.”