WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Pregnant women and young children were not included in the original U.S. clinical trials, so there's no safety data available yet – but based on some early research, Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying there have been no red flags seen in the more than 10,000 pregnant women who have received the coronavirus vaccine thus far.
Some OBGYN physicians, including Dr. Jennifer Doorey from University of Virginia Health, are changing their guidance with their patients.
"At this point, I'm telling people, I can't recommend it across the board, but what we do know is pregnant women are at much higher risk for complications because of COVID, so it's a balance of the risks that we do know from a deadly disease and the risks that we may or may not know fully yet from a vaccine in pregnancy," said Dr. Doorey. "Pregnant women are much more likely to be hospitalized, intubated, put on heart and lung bypass machines, have pre-term labor, which can affect them and baby. So we think on the balance of things – depending on your risk of exposure, the balance may say the vaccine is the way to go."
Dr. Doorey shares an interesting perspective, not only as a medical expert, but she's 34 weeks pregnant herself. She says she received the Moderna vaccine early on in her 3rd trimester, only experiencing some soreness in her arm.
"It took me a while to weigh the pros and cons and to learn everything I could about it to make sure I felt safe, but at the end of the day, I could not come up with a theoretical risk to my pregnancy," said Dr. Doorey.
Her only hesitation that she shares with her patients is the risk of getting a fever after getting the vaccine.
"Some women who get the vaccine get a fever, and we know a fever can be dangerous in the first trimester .... so maybe avoiding the second shot while you're in that first trimester, in the second and 3rd trimester I couldn't even come up with a theoretical risk to the pregnancy by getting the vaccine," she said.
The CDC has advised that pregnant women consult with their doctors on whether or not to get vaccinated, but they say that people who work in healthcare or are frontline essential workers with high exposure to the virus should be offered the vaccine.
Bottom line, Dr. Doorey says it's a personal decision but with all these new virus variants spreading, pregnant women have to weigh the risk of this vaccine – and the risk of getting COVID – and potentially getting seriously ill.