Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine? Why some doctors say they should hold off

Local News

LUBBOCK, TX– For any expecting mom, the last few months before the baby comes are bound to have some pregnancy jitters. But for Rachel Mallia, whose baby is due in January, her final term has been a mother’s worst nightmare.

“I was so scared, and I remember crying, thinking, ‘I hope that I’m going to be okay.’ I was very fearful that I would come back to the hospital,” Mallia said.

In October, while she was about seven months pregnant, Mallia got COVID-19, and virus complications sent her to the emergency room twice.

“It’s a scary thought that one, ‘Am I going to be okay?’ and two, ‘Is my baby going to be okay?'” Mallia said.

According to medical experts and the CDC, pregnant women have an increased chance of suffering complications if they contract the coronavirus, such as a greater risk of being hospitalized, intubated and even dying from it.

However, despite the high risk, OB/GYN, Dr. John Thoppil, explained that pregnant and breastfeeding women should probably hold off on taking the vaccine because they were not included in early vaccine trials and there’s not enough research on how the vaccine might affect both mother and child.

“Until we have [that data,] we can’t recommend use until we know that [the vaccine] is safe for moms and babies … For now, until we have further guidance, I would hold off while breastfeeding and pregnant,” Dr. Thoppil, an OB/GYN based in Austin and the president of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said.

Thoppil also said mothers should get the vaccine as soon as the baby is born and they’re done breast feeding. He believes that new studies and information on pregnant women and the vaccine will come out from the CDC in the next six months.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued KAMC News this statement, saying in part:

“There isn’t a simple answer to questions about whether pregnant people, or those considering pregnancy, should take the vaccine … Unfortunately, we have no data on the safety of the vaccine in pregnant and lactating individuals,” an ACOG spokesperson said in an email.

Mallia, who also works in healthcare as a medical social worker, said that she plans to keep this in mind, and she’ll get the vaccine as soon as it’s safe. The last thing she wants, Mallia added, is to get COVID-19 a second time.

“I wouldn’t take it while being pregnant because I don’t think there’s enough information or studies that have been done on the pregnant population, but after the baby is here, I’m going to be one of the first to sign up to get the vaccines,” Mallia said.

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